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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German Government Says It Still Prefers Magna, Sberbank

BERLIN — The German government made clear Wednesday that it still favors a consortium led by Canada’s Magna to take over GM’s Opel unit and said it hoped for an agreement over the next week with the U.S. auto maker.

German officials met General Motors on Wednesday to exchange views on the three final offers for German-based Adam Opel.

Submitted on Monday, they come from the consortium of auto-parts maker Magna International and Sberbank; Brussels-based investor RHJ International; and China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Corp.

The government’s preference for the Magna-Sberbank bid “has been confirmed by our evaluations,” government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said at a regular government news conference.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to northern Germany on Wednesday that the Magna bid has “some advantages.” She added, “We have indicated that we see the Magna concept, for all the questions that certainly arise, as a sustainable one.”

GM did not signal a favorite during Wednesday’s four-hour meeting with German officials and others, though it made clear “that every offer has strengths and weaknesses,” Deputy Economy Minister Jochen Homann said.

The race appeared to be between Magna and RHJ, however. Homann said that while BAIC is not entirely out of the running, it was “dropping away.”

Wilhelm said that “our aim in the course of the coming week will be … to reach a joint assessment and, if possible, a joint recommendation on how to proceed.”

He said further steps likely will include more talks with GM and the U.S. government, along with “close contact” with the bidders and other European countries that have Opel sites.