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July 21, 2009

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New Opel offer includes rights

A Magna-led consortium of bidders for Opel was set to make a new offer for the German car maker yesterday that includes a demand for rights to its intellectual property, a Russian newspaper reported.

Final binding offers were due at the close of business in Europe yesterday in what appeared to be a three-horse race for General Motor Corp's European unit.

Belgian-listed holding RHJ International confirmed yesterday it would be submitting a "compelling" offer. Magna, the Canadian auto parts supplier, is expected to join it and Beijing Automotive is a possible third bidder.

Citing a single source, the Kommersant daily said the Magna consortium, which includes Russian state bank Sberbank, would make its new offer "in the form of an ultimatum" and leave the talks if it was not accepted.

Magna would want to sell Opel cars under its own brand and make any changes it wished to Opel designs, as well as use Opel technology for new models, the daily said, adding the Russian government supported the proposal.

Analysts have said a Russian role in an Opel buy would make sense only if it brings access to new technology which would help Russia revive its largely-stagnant domestic auto makers.

Sberbank, a presumed financier of the deal, is expected to be a short-term holder of Opel equity if the bid is successful and would likely pass it on to a Russian auto maker.


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