• GM says progress made

  • Some agreement likely by weekend

  • Final deal target: September

General Motors said it made progress “clarifying issues from the best and final offers received two weeks ago” at several meetings with Opel bidders Magna and RHJI, and with members of the German automotive task force, in Berlin on Tuesday.

“Progress was made. GM hopes to conclude its evaluation and make a recommendation to the Opel Trust Board shortly,” it said in a statement.

“We made significant progress,” deputy economics Minister Jochen Homann told Reuters. “All the partners… confirmed that they saw themselves able to see eye to eye by the end of the week.”

GM is under pressure from Berlin to back the Magna International bid, made in conjunction with Russia’s Sberbank and automaker GAZ, as it seen as more likely to preserve Opel jobs.

Numerous leaks and off-record briefings have suggested GM has concerns over intellectual property rights related to Magna’s Russian partners. GM said in a statement last week that it couldn’t do a deal with Magna based on the existing proposal.

GM had hoped to close a deal by the end of the third quarter, but a source told Dow Jones Newswires it was still possible to seal a binding agreement ahead of Germany’s September general election, with closing two months after that.

US government auto task force and European competition authority approval will also be needed.

The two bids are based on around EUR4bn in additional government backing – mainly from Germany – but involve less than EUR400m in equity, spread over two or more payments, sources told Dow Jones.

Analysts have said both RHJ, which improved its standalone offer for a 50.1% stake last month, and the Magna consortium have enough cash to boost their offers.