That’s Russian for “Goodbye Opel!”
Germany’s premier Angela Merkel is just now announcing General Motors’ Opel European business will be sold to a group consisting of Russian business interests allied with auto supplier Magna International. Have a look at last night’s blog predicting this would happen; it’ll gratify my ego and also tell you why GM’s board made the decision. Is it the right move? Pragmatically speaking, yes, the GM chose appropriately. But it’s not good for Opel or Germany: I’m opposed to transactions that require billions of government financial aid, which Magna-Opel does, and are greased by promises to protect jobs, keep factories open and generally appease the short-termism of union and political leaders, which Magna-Opel does as well. I’m also inherently skeptical of the Russian side of the equation, given that country’s relatively lawless business environment. We’re told that Magna’s principal Russian partner is a big bank named Sberbank, but who is Sberbank standing in for? Will the oligarchs ogling Opel emerge from the shadows now they’ve clinched the deal? Also furrowing my brows: the nature of the German-Russian political-financial liaison, which Magna-Opel only strengthens and which was previously represented by former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former foreign minister Joschka Fischer’s Russian business dalliances.