Belgian investment firm RHJ, once considered a back-up bidder for Opel, is now considered a front-runner – at least according to its own CEO. RHJ head Leonhard Fischer has already told U.K. officials that the company is committed to retaining the Vauxhall name, and speaking to German newspaper Handelsblatt, he said he likes his chances in the run for Opel.

Opel workers still want GM to settle on Magna and have asked the German government to nudge to GM make that happen. In response, RHJ is considering lowering the amount of aid it will request from the federal government to an amount that is €900 million ($1.27B U.S.) lower than the number Magna has requested. The flip side: RHJ would pay GM less in royalties to make up the loss.

Not that The General seems to mind. GM's chief negotiator said that a deal with RHJ was "virtually wrapped up" and just waiting on government approval. A deal with RHJ would also give GM fewer headaches on the Russia and intellectual property issues – problems with a Magna deal that GM has described as "significant." With a basic deal between GM and RHJ concluded, the main dealings now appear to concern GM and the federal authorities. And if RHJ wins, the question everyone will want to know is: will RHJ be Cerberus with a Flemish accent?

[Source: Automotive News - Sub Req.]

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