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GM examines final Opel bids

GENERAL Motors, the ailing US carmaker, is mulling over three takeover offers for its European business and is in talks with the UK and German governments to nail down the final terms of a deal.<br /><br />The bids include one by a consortium of Canadian car parts firm Magna and Russian-controlled Sberbank, one by Belgian private equity group RHJ International and another by China&rsquo;s Beijing Automotive.<br /><br />Sberbank&rsquo;s role in the Magna bid for GM Europe, comprised of Vauxhall in the UK and Opel on the Continent, was yesterday scaled down after pressure from Berlin.<br /><br />It was agreed both firms would have an equal split of the firm if their bid is taken up, rather than Sberbank taking a greater stakeholding, amid concerns in Germany over the potential influence of the Russian bank. This comes after Sberbank recently discussed selling its potential GM Europe stake on to a domestic carmaker.<br /><br />Berlin is likely to have a large say in whose bid for GM Europe is finally accepted as it is set to provide the bulk of the &euro;4.5bn (&pound;3.9bn) in expected loan guarantees for the business.<br /><br />In a statement yesterday GM said the European Commission will also be involved in the deliberations.