The PSA Group has announced that it is considering an acquisition of Opel, GM’s European business in a deal that would transform the region’s automotive landscape. As reported by Bloomberg this morning, and via other media including the BBC, this acquisition, if it goes ahead, would result in Europe’s second largest carmaker after Volkswagen, and pushing Renault into third place.
The Bloomberg website goes on to say that the French carmaker is in talks on numerous strategic initiatives, including the possible acquisition of Opel. For this information, it quotes a PSA spokesman. GM is seeking a multi-billion dollar amount for Opel, which also operates U.K. sister brand Vauxhall, because of the outlook for improved operations, according, says Bloomberg, to a person familiar with the matter.
"PSA Group and General Motors confirm they are exploring numerous strategic initiatives aiming at improving profitability and operational efficiency, including a potential acquisition of Opel Vauxhall by PSA. There can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached," the GM statement released this morning reads.
GM and PSA have already been working together for a few years, resulting in the shared production of various models. Opel will be manufacturing the upcoming Citroën C3-based cross over and future Peugeot 2008 alongside its SUV-ish Crossland X in Zagaroza, Spain. The Crossland-X's bigger brother, the Opel Grandland-X, will soon be built by Peugeot alongside the latter's own SUV models, the 3008 and 5008.
Together, Opel and the three PSA brands (Peugeot, Citroën, DS) would have a market share of 16% in Europe (based on 2016 figures) - enough to climb to second position, but not to push Volkswagen (24%) from its throne. The take-over would increase PSA's scale and, probably at least as important, give access to Opel's electric car technology (Ampera-e). At this moment, PSA is legging behind in this all-important field.
GM has controlled Opel since 1929, but the brand has been struggling for years to become profitable. 2016 promised to be the first money-making year in a very long period, until Brexit came into the picture. With the gloomy British situation in mind, selling Opel to PSA may well mean a clean exit from Europe for GM.
PSA shares rose 4.9% to 18.81 Euros at 1:04 p.m. today, Tuesday 14th February, valuing the company at 16.3 billion Euros ($17.3 billion).