GM Board To Discuss Opel Sale In November

FRANKFURT (AP) -- A General Motors Co. executive said Friday that the company's board will meet Nov. 3 and discuss concerns about the sale of European unit Adam Opel GmbH, but gave no details on when the transaction might be completed.

In a blog posting Friday, John Smith, GM's chief negotiator for the sale of Opel and sister brand Vauxhall, says the board would consider a letter sent by the German government regarding concerns raised by the European Union on the sale.

Canadian car parts maker Magna International Inc. and Russian lender Sberbank were chosen last month as the favored buyers for a majority stake in Opel and Vauxhall, over a bid from Brussels-based private equity firm RHJ International.

The German government had favored Magna and Sberbank all along and is offering a large amount of financial aid for the deal.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes wrote last week to Germany's economy minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, to voice her concerns that Germany may have offered to provide that aid only if Magna and Sberbank were chosen.

"Given the significance of the Opel transaction, GM's Board will soon meet in its regular monthly meeting (November 3) to consider Minister zu Guttenberg's letter and changes to the Magna-Sberbank proposal that have occurred since its last review on September 9," Smith wrote in his blog.

He said GM will work to resolve remaining open points with the Magna-Sberbank proposal -- among them labor cost reductions and the government-backed financing package.

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