Belgian finance investor RHJ International has finally confirmed it was in negotiations to acquire Opel.

The talks were at an advanced stage, the European arm of US firm Ripplewood said on Monday. It was also negotiating to take over Vauxhall, Financial Times Deutschland said.

The four German states where Opel has production sites said they preferred a strategic investor from the automotive sector with Magna most liked, followed by Fiat, Thuringia’s economy minister Juergen Reinholz told Reuters.

The Opel states – Thuringia, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland Palatinate – are critical of the RHJ offer because the original concept included the closure of the plants in Bochum, in North Rhine-Westphalia, and Eisenach, in Thuringia. These worries have not been dispelled, Reinholz added.