Report: Opel deal stalling on Russian involvement

German publication WiWo is reporting that the GM deal with Magna is stalling due to US Government insistence on limitations to access patents held by GM. Di.se are also reporting this based on the WiWo story.
The theory seems to be that the Russian membership in the Magna consortium, which is not fully detailed, is a worry to US government as around 5% of GM’s business is military (or the like) and the US government doesn’t want Russia to have unfettered access to the patents related to this.
Again, like with the GP.se story, I’m dealing with translations here, and pretty important ones, too. These stories have a pretty big potential to impact Saab’s sale. I’ll deal with that in a moment.
UPDATE – Full manual translation now received…….read on….
Here’s the original story at WiWo.
Full translation now provided by Till – thanks!!:
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The US government gave advice to the US car company not to sign a contract with the Austrian investor Magna as long as russian companies get extensive access to GM patents. This is reported by WiWo according to American negotiating circles.
Magna insists to get access to all developments from the GM patent pool. But these conern not only car technology. Approx. five per cent of GM’s turnover are made with military items. GM’s request to limit the access to car technology was rejeczed by Magna repeadetly, according to negotiation circles.
The Americans accuse Magna of moving the more away from the first MOU the stronger Sberbanks role gets in the consortium. The base distrust on the US side grows even bigger because the Austrians stubbornly refuse to let GM take a look in the contract between Magna and Sberbank.
Other than reported in the German press the parties argue not only about one or two problems. At first GM had listed 52 issues.At the beginning of last week the parties were still did quarrel about 26 issues put tohether under seven headlines. After tuesdays negotiations there were still 19 issues left. These include besides the role of the Russian partners mainly patents, technology transfer, financing and company rights issues.
The US side expects – according to WiWo’s information – the Federal (i.e. German) government to lead back Magna and Sberbank as close as possible to the MOU they initially agreed upon. Dieter Posch, economy minister of Hessen (German federal state), told WiWo: “It’s not enough to negotiate in Washington, Moskau is as important”.
In last weeks negotiations the representatives of the German federal government and the federal states increased pressure not only on Magna and RHJI but also on the seller GM: the claim for more equity capital concerns not only the investors but also GM that keeps stake in the “new Opel”.
US representatives warn of the possibility that the negotiations could fail. ” The federal government should look for other options than Magna and even consider an insolvency.” Berlin and the federal states are said to have manouvered themselves in a corner. “The Magna bid doesn’t match the economical reality, it just fits the German wishes.

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We have two stories posted in the last hour – one about Saab and one about Opel. BOTH of them deal (to varying degrees) with concerns about Russian investment in the companies. Magna’s Russian contingent has a name, but in the Saab story, the Russian connection is an inference only.
What’s of concern is whether or not this potential Russian connection with Saab could scuttle the deal. Koenigsegg Group’s people do like to sit in the background and if key members are looking to sink further into the shadows, then it doesn’t bode well.
Add into this mix the fact that dealers in the US have posted in comments that a halt has been placed on all orders, including the 9-3x, and you’ve got a very muddy picture that needs some clearing up.
Someone needs to come out and say something here to clarify and reassure……
All the whispers I’ve heard in the last week or so indicate that completion of the Saab deal is imminent. I hope that’s still the case.
We need to move on.

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