General Motors is reportedly in talks with Fiat Group that could lead to GM taking a controlling interest in Fidis, Fiat Auto’s consumer credit arm.

The Financial Times reports that GM may acquire a 51% stake in Fidis in a move that would scupper a rival bid from Banca di Roma, Intesa BCI and SanPaolo IMI.

Fiat had planned to sell 51% of Fidis to the three banks – a move that could raise around a billion euros ($930 million) and reduce the company’s debt. But under the terms of the GM-Fiat alliance, GM has an exclusivity clause in respect of bids for a stake in Fidis or any part of Fiat Auto’s assets.

If the clause is invoked and GM opts to take a controlling interest in Fidis, it will be taken as a clear indication that the company is planning to take control of Fiat Auto as a whole.

GM currently has a 20% stake in Fiat Auto and under the terms of the GM-Fiat alliance, Fiat has an option to sell the remaining 80% to GM from 2004.

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