Our favorite blogger covering the ongoing Opel saga, John Smith of GM, said this morning that the Magna/Sberbank deal was delayed until at least the regular GM Board of Directors Meeting on November 3.
The sticking point now appears to be the financing that allegedly tilted the decision to Magna – how much, and by what governments?
Smith, who is the lead negotiator on the sale, implied that the deal would be ready to go by November after months of delay. The GM Board last reviewed the matter in September and instructed Smith to proceed with the Magna-Sberbank deal.
However, even if the GM Board approves the sale next month, it is still not clear that all the legal approvals from the European Union will be in place.
Since approval was given for the sale to the Canadian-Russian consortium, the European Union has been reviewing the Opel investor process and the circumstances surrounding the selection of Magna-Sberbank. A key document appears to be a letter from German Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg that sets forth terms.
Critics of the deal contend that Germany, as the largest potential contributor of funding — €4.5 billion ($6.8 billion) — unfairly manipulated plant closings to keep more jobs there. Opel/Vauxhall also has efficient plants in Spain and the United Kingdom.