Blog: Dave LeggettOpel fruits attracting interest

Dave Leggett | 20 May 2009

It sounds as if Fiat is going to try to offer assets and a formidable sales network rather than cash in exchange for a stake in Opel - like it has done with Chrysler. If Fiat is the front runner at this stage, partly built on the Marchionne charm, other bidders need to think about offering cash. The Russian banks working with Magna can perhaps call on some serious cash reserves in Russia, the Kremlin said to be keen on extending its influence westwards.

Magna's supplier-based approach is intriguing. It can perhaps point to efficiencies it is in a very good position to implement, turning Opel into a more 'integrated' carmaker with the considerable support that Magna can provide. That could be good for the manufacturing process and parts procurenment. But does Magna know how to run a car company, top to bottom? Whole vehicle product engineering, R&D, marketing, finance? Fiat, at least, knows that side of things pretty well and has shown that it can execute much better now than it used to be able to (incidentally, I have heard that the appalling ride on the Mito has now been fixed). 

But what about the dark horse - Belgium-based private equity company RHJ? That firm has obviously been making the right noises to initially please the German unions and it may have some cash, but can it really walk the walk? Or does it want to find an easy customer for the supplier companies it already owns and at the same time offer GM a big stake so that it helps out big time with the more difficult stuff - like technology and future product development? Would that appeal to GM?

Certainly is interesting that a private equity company sniffs an opportunity with Opel. Any more late bids out there? 

Watch that space.

ITALY/GERMANY: Fiat confirms Opel bid


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