Magna International Inc. and Savings Bank of the Russian Federation (“Sberbank”) have just confirmed that they have jointly submitted a revised offer to acquire a 55% interest in Adam Opel GmbH and Vauxhall that is “intended to assure the long-term viability of Opel.”
Under the offer, they will purchase 55% interest in Opel, which would be owned by a 50:50 Magna/Sberbank Consortium. This trims the size of the Russian holdings from 35% in the previous offer. General Motors Company would have a 35% interest, and Opel employees get 10% as part of a new labor agreement.
GM is said to be seeking a way to regain controlling interest in the future since Opel engineering is crucial to its ongoing product development needs. CEO Fritz Henderson said in June that he anticipated GM will maintain a substantial, but still minority stake in Opel.
At the very least GM is pushing for assurances that it has a major voice in future product decisions, but the company is not commenting on further details of the offers. Increasing the holdings of Magna, with which GM has extensive and long standing business dealings, might be one way to assuage GM’s fears.