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Given its recent financial performance and the fact that that GM’s CEO isn’t happy about the situation, nor the time it’s taking to re-structure Vauxhall/Opel; rumors have been flying once again that the General’s European operations might be up for sale.
However, during a recent phone conversation between Dan Akerson and Opel boss Karl-Fredrich Strake, the former assured the latter that GM isn’t in talks to sell Opel.
Nevertheless, speculation, particularly in the German media continues, with reports that GM is ‘reviewing options’ for its European unit, with possibly Volkswagen AG and Bejing Automotive Industry Holding Co being named as potential buyers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and local labor groups have asked GM to go on the record and comment on the rumors that Opel might be for sale, though so far, the automaker has declined.
[Source: Automotive News]
On it’s path to global domination, Volkswagen has made another official takeover bid, this time for German heavy truck maker MAN.
VW said that on May 9th, that it held more than 30 percent stock in MAN, which under German law, means the company was required to make a bid on all remaining shares in the truck company.
VW’s offer to third party shareholders for the remaining stock, included a price of 95 Euros ($136.80) for ordinary shares and 59.90 Euros ($86.81) for preferred shares.
The acquisition of MAN is part of a wider plan for VW to create a commercial vehicle powerhouse, having already acquired controlling interest in Swedish truck maker Scania.
However, anti-trust laws have placed a few obstacles in the path of bringing MAN, Scania and VW’s own commercial operations under a single umbrella. Nevertheless, the company remains undeterred and is looking to continue the process bit by bit, acquiring between 35 to 40 percent of the outstanding shares in MAN.
This will give VW multiple strategic options to pursue as well as potentially saving some 200 million Euros per year thanks to joint purchasing of all three brands. Both MAN and Scania are somewhat unique in the commercial vehicle sector in that they don’t rely on proprietary sources for major components such as engines, choosing instead to build their own. This aspect alone will give the new triumvirate a very solid position in the commercial vehicle market.
Besides acquiring MAN, VW is also finalizing its takeover of Porsche AG, which, once completed will become the company’s 10th individual brand.
It’s no secret that Saab has been struggling since becoming ‘independent.’ The company, purchased from GM by Spyker last year has continued to face financial and supply problems, which has stunted production and resulted in sales falling far short of projected targets.
As a result, the company, in order to help pay for parts and get production rolling again, has been selling off company assets and or/ re-leasing them in some cases.
However, another issue concerns the outstanding loan given to Saab by the Swedish Government through the European Investment Bank. With the company facing a sizable number of obstacles, there are those who feel the chances of repaying back that money are questionable at best and some assurance is needed.
As a result, perhaps not surprisingly, the Swedish media has been circulating rumors that the government had been encouraging Volvo (now owned by China’s Geely Automotive) to acquire Saab in a possible takeover.
However, Volvo has now gone on the record, stating that no such talks have taken place and nor have any been planned for the future. In the meantime, Saab CEO Victor Mueller, is continuing to look for other sources to tap into for capital, including a number of Chinese automakers.
Back before the Spyker deal went through, Saab had been in talks with China’s BAIC, which had expressed interest in buying the Swedish automaker, lock, stock and barrel from GM. In the end BAIC simply acquired ‘old’ Saab assets, including all the production tooling for the outgoing 9-3. However, given the current situation at Saab itself, there might be a strong possibility that BAIC could get its hands on more than just former assets of the Swedish automaker.