The EU's Directorate-General for Competition (EUDGC) is looking at the Opel deal that should have been concluded already, and is asking questions of Germany and GM. Principally it is trying to resolve the issue of state aid; it was reported before that if Opel was purchased by Magna then the German government would provide financial assistance. However, if the bidder GM is said to have preferred, Belgian investment fund RHJ, won, then there would be no money coming from the German authorities.

The EUDGC wants to ensure that Magna was chosen for sound business reasons that had nothing to do with politics. It also wants to make sure that money promised to Magna was also clearly made available to other bidders. Lead GM negotiator John Smith said "The German Government was asked by DG Competition to communicate its position on financing availability to GM and the Opel Trust Board." And Germany's Economic Minister has asked GM to also tell the EU that it chose Magna based on reason and logic.

Meanwhile, GM continues to work with Magna on finalizing issues relating to the sale. No matter what happens with the EU, GM has to work with Magna right now because Magna is making decisions for Opel, such as whether to close down an Opel plant in Zaragoza, Spain. The EUDGC will want to complete its investigation in a timely manner, since having to unwind -- or redo -- what has taken six painful months to put together would be a massive blow to all involved.

[Source: GM Fastlane Blog via Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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