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TIMELINE: Magna agrees in-principle deal with GM over Opel

(Reuters) - Magna and Russia’s Sberbank have reached agreement in principle with General Motors’ management over a contract to buy a stake in GM’s European unit Opel, Magna co-CEO Siegfried Wolf told Reuters on Thursday.

Here is a summary of recent events at Opel, founded in 1863 and bought by GM in 1929:

Nov 2008 - Opel asks Germany for state loan guarantees.

March 4 - GM Europe head Carl-Peter Forster says Opel could slash 3,500 jobs and relaunch as an independent company.

March 16 - Opel’s hopes of getting state aid dealt a blow when a government enquiry finds it is not possible to completely separate it from GM.

April 28 - Canadian-Austrian auto parts maker Magna presents outlines of an offer for Opel.

May 12 - Russian carmaker GAZ confirms its interest in a joint venture with Opel and Magna.

May 13 - Germany rules out temporary Opel nationalization.

May 20 - GM Europe says three bids have been made; Fiat confirms it made a bid and a source says private equity investor RHJ International also bid.

May 22 - Magna emerges as favorite after German officials say it submitted a better plan than rival bidders.

May 26 - Chinese carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co (BAIC) emerges as a late contender for Opel.

May 30 - Germany seals a deal with Magna, GM and the U.S. government to save Opel from the bankruptcy of its U.S. parent.

-- Magna agrees to take over parts of the new European Opel activities from parent GM in a letter of intent. Germany is to provide 4.5 billion euros in loan guarantees and Magna will loan Opel 300 million euros to cover short-term liquidity needs.

June 4 - Russia’s Sberbank announces a 500 million euro ($708 million) cash injection for Opel. Sberbank and Magna, its partner in the winning consortium for Opel, will each commit part of the funds in proportion to their stakes.

June 26 - Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne says remains interested, but Fiat’s current bid is best it can do.

July 20 - GM receives binding takeover offers for Opel from Magna, RHJ and BAIC.

July 23 - GM agrees to continue detailed talks with both Magna and RHJ International. The next day, BAIC fails to reach an agreement due to intellectual property issues.

July 28 - Magna offers to increase the upfront capital it would invest in Opel. The revised bid leaves the total proposed amount at 500 million euros.

August 11 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is ready to intervene personally to support Magna’s bid.

August 13 - Magna and Sberbank reach an agreement in principle with GM over a contract to buy a stake in Opel. The boards of GM and Magna still need to approve a deal before trustees who control a 65 percent stake in Opel can give their final consent.

Compiled by Maria Sheahan, additional writing by David Cutler, editing by Will Waterman

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