General Motors is likely to select a buyer for Opel "early next week," an executive says, according to Bloomberg. Magna International ( MGA) and RHJ International are "probably the frontrunners" for GM's European unit, said Nick Reilly, currently GM's Asia-Pacific head, in a Bloomberg TV interview. Reilly will take over GM's operations outside of North America next month.
Germany told GM earlier this week that if the automaker sold the European car business to anyone other than Magna it might withdraw its offer of state aid, the Wall Street Journal reports. Germany has pledged to support Magna's plan to buy Opel with 4.5 billion euros ($6.35 billion) of loan guarantees. GM, which signed in May a non-exclusive memorandum of understanding with Magna, a Canadian-based auto-parts maker, has asked for final proposals from Magna and RHJ, Bloomberg reports, citing three people familiar with the situation. Beijing Automotive also may submit a final offer, Bloomberg reports. Magna's bid for Opel is being made in conjunction with Russian bank Sberbank.