June 27, 2009

Fiat CEO not giving up on Opel buy

Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne says he is still interested in acquiring the German automaker Opel.

In the wake of reports that Opel's takeover by Canadian-Austrian parts maker Magna has encountered difficulty, Marchionne said Fiat's rejected bid is still on the table, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

We have confirmed our interest, the Italian executive said Friday. Marchionne, however, said he hasn't changed the offer for General Motors' German subsidiary that was turned down a month ago.

I don't think we can improve Fiat's bid. It was the most rational thing we could offer from the industrial standpoint, Marchionne told ANSA.

ANSA said doubts about Magna's ability to consummate the Opel acquisition surfaced this week, with German officials saying the deal might have to be changed to make it happen. German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg reportedly has said the two sides are still working to hammer out a sustainable solution.

Fiat originally envisioned an acquisition of Opel as part of a bid to also acquire the bankrupt U.S. automaker Chrysler, which it was successful in buying.