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GM Asks Beijing Auto for Enhanced Offer for Opel... What Happened to That Other Guy, Magna?


AUTO CENTRAL - June 25, 2009: On May 30th, it was announced that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had chosen Magna International Inc. as the buyer for General Motors Corp.’s Opel brand and that a financing plan aimed at helping the money-losing unit avert insolvency has been arranged.

Unfortunately, it seems that General Motors may have never received the memo.

Today Gasgoo Auto News is reporting that Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. (BAIC) has had discussions this week with General Motors Corp. about the possibility of buying GM's Opel unit, and was asked, among other investors, to hand in an improved offer for Opel.

It seems that GM executives in Europe met with representatives of Beijing Auto yesterday after the Chinese automaker expressed interest in Opel for a second time. The second approach described in more detail how Beijing Auto would structure a possible takeover, and GM decided it "warranted a response," Dow Jones said.

GM has asked investors to make improved offers for its European division, to rival the bid from Magna International Inc., the Financial Times reported. Beijing Auto expects to hand in an enhanced offer by the middle of July and Belgium-based financial investor RHJ International SA could also make a second offer.

Beijing Auto's first expression of interest came after the bid deadline for Opel passed on May 20, and GM decided not to pursue the overture. But Opel had its own idea and agreed to make its financial books accessible to Beijing Auto and other investors.

Magna remains in the lead to buy Opel, but GM sees few potential snags to that deal. As its agreement with Magna isn't binding, GM asked Beijing Auto and other bidders to make enhanced offers in case its deal with Magna fails.