Two companies vie for Opel’s future

Italian carmaker Fiat is one of two parties in talks with the German government to purchase Opel.
Two groups remain in the hunt to take over carmaker Opel from the umbrella of General Motors’ European operations: Canadian-Austrian supplier Magna and Italian car company Fiat

The German government met Wednesday to discuss the future of the carmaker. The chief concern is to make sure the car company does not become embroiled in the bankruptcy protection proceedings of parent company GM. At stake are four plants that employ 25,000 people in Germany. The German government is expected to discuss bridge financing that would keep Opel running while an investor is sought. Officials will also discuss which of the various bids they prefer. Earlier, there were four prospective buyers for the carmaker: Magna, Fiat and U.S. investment firm Ripplewood, the German government said.

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Beijing Automotive Industry Holding had also expressed an interest, according to media reports. The government has said it wants to reach a decision on Opel before the U.S. government opens insolvency proceedings against General Motors.

It has been holding talks with prospective Opel buyers, countries that sell Opel cars, General Motors and the U.S. government. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she has two priorities in the discussions about Opel — to protect jobs and to spare German taxpayers.