) -- With the specter of overseas job losses hanging over everything,

General Motors

will announce whether it plans to sell off its Vauxhall and Opel brands at an announcement in Berlin later today.

Conflicting reports surfaced Thursday as to what those plans may be. Earlier,

The Times of London

said the troubled Detroit-based automaker decided to retain ownership of the operations. GM had been contemplating bids from a consortium led by Canada's

Magna International

, as well as Belgian operation

RHJ Holdings

during a two-day board meeting that concluded on Wednesday.


The Wall Street Journal

and the

The Associated Press

, citing unnamed sources, later reported that GM is recommending Opel's sale to Magna.

The decision has significant implications throughout Europe. Opel is reported to employ more than 50,000 workers, nearly half of them in Germany alone. The political significance of a restructuring is stark in the country, as general elections are set to be held at the end of September. The German government has voiced support for the Magna sale. Vauxhall is reported to employ around 5,500 workers throughout the U.K.

On Wednesday,

The Detroit News

also reported that GM chief financial officer Ray Young will likely step down after a 20-year career with the company. Citing unnamed sources familiar with the shake-up, the report also said that several in the Obama administration auto task force raised questions about the finance department, as well as Young's performance in particular, during a briefing to the board.

-- Reported by Sung Moss in New York

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