Interesting that the ‘serious’ newspapers — the FT and Sunday Times — have run a version of our Vauxhall/Opel sell-off story from last week’s mag.
For those that didn’t see it, Vauxhall/Opel’s buyer is now most likely to be a company called RHJ International, a Belgian holding company with very strong links to US buyout firm Ripplewood.
These reports are significant, because this week is meant to mark the final, final deadline for the Vauxhall/Opel sell-off. Although my experience of reporting similar stories in recent years suggests we treat the word ‘final’ with some scepticism.
The Canadian/Russian bid from Magna/Sberbank has fallen out of favour for various reason, not the least of which is that GM fancies buying back Vauxhall/Opel in a few years time.
I’m told that a buy-back clause for GM to take back control of Vauxhall/Opel is a key part of the sell-off documentation and the Russians/Magna aren’t too keen on it.
Apparently GM’s high-ups in Detroit have also found it much easier to negotiate with RHJ than the Russians, largely because RHJ is run by Americans, namely the financier Tim Collins, who also founded the Ripplewood buyout fund.The German Unions are said to favour RHJ, too.