The newly-reconstituted Opel is getting off to a shaky start, even before General Motors and its new partners have completed their deal to share control of the struggling German automaker.
The deal will go through, said senior officials from both GM and Magna International, the Canadian supplier that led the acquisition of a majority stake in Opel. But trouble could be facing the new partners on several fronts.
For one thing, European Union officials may challenge the deal, which was completed under heavy pressure from the German government, and even Opel’s labor unions, which will receive a 10% stake in the former GM subsidiary, are warning of a possible “action” to pressure Opel not to close plants or trim it’s workforce.
Facing the threat of bankruptcy in Europe, GM announced, earlier this year, that it would sell a stake in Opel, in return for a German government bailout. Negotiations dragged on until last week, as it became clear that the U.S. maker was looking for an alternative bidder who might eventually allow GM to regain control of Opel. But last week, GM gave into pressure from Berlin, agreeing to sell a controlling stake in it’s troubled European operations to Magna and it’s Russian backer, Sberbank.