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In a move that flies in the face of the expressed opinions of the German government, which controls the purse strings and the essentially the process on the future of General Motors troubled European unit, one bidder is reported to have acknowledged it could sell Opel/Vauxhall back to the US company.

RHJ International, a bidder for Opel, is not ruling out selling Opel back to its current US parent, GM, after returning it to health, RHJ’s CEO told a German newspaper on Sunday.

“Let us be pragmatic. It won’t work without General Motors,” the CEO of the Belgian private-equity firm, Leonhard Fischer, told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Reuters Newsagency quotes the newspaper as saying Mr Fischer was explicitly not ruling out the option of selling Opel, based mostly in Germany, to GM after RHJ had completed its restructuring of the ailing carmaker.

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RHJ and Canada’s Magna International submitted bids to acquire Opel on July 20.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Magna was Germany’s preferred partner for Opel, which will be helped to stay in business with billions of dollars worth of government loans.

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A third bidder, China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation said on Friday it had failed to reach an agreement with GM on the sale of Opel due to intellectual property issues.

“In the negotiations over intellectual property, we have been in constant communications with General Motors,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.

“Regrettably, both parties failed to reach agreement on (the intellectual property) issue,” the company said.

GM’s European business said it would continue detailed talks on Opel with Magna and RHJ.

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Beijing Auto made a bid worth 660 million euros (US$922 million) for Opel, German newspapers said.

Beijing Auto planned to make Opel a global brand, selling in Asia and Latin America where GM would not welcome additional competition, and currently builds Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai cars in China.






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