And we bet the General's general, Rick Wagoner, probably felt he was pretty much in the clear when it came to foreign raiders. Wagoner's just finished fending off the possibility of bedding GM in a threesome with Carlos Ghosn's Renault-Nissan alliance — so our bet's that he's been feeling all big n' bad in the exec tower at the RenCen as of late. Well, maybe those champagne corks were popped a bit too soon — because the caviar they brought to go with it may be providing a bit more indigestion than they'd originally thought. That's because there are conflicting reports coming out of the land formerly shrouded by an iron curtain that Russian multi-rubillionaire Oleg Deripaska, one of the architects of the Yukos "deal" a while back, may have made a decent-sized purchase of stock in the General. Germany's Manager Magazin reports, without citing a source, that Putin's pocket tycoon's...
...been given a new fish to fry:
"Now he has received a mandate from the Kremlin to develop the international competitiveness of the Russian automotive industry...Deripaska already has a majority of Russian vehicle builder Gas via his holding company Basis Element and appears to be aiming for cooperation with GM in order to gain access to the Asian market among other things."
The story went on to note the main Moscow man's even looking to purchase up to 10% of the automaker. Keep in mind all of this comes after the story we reported yesterday about Russia's Federal Anti-Monopoly Service investigating the General for possible price-fixing — which is fairly similar to how the Yukos snatch-n-grab went down. But, as we said, it's a conflicting report right now — as a Reuters report this AM also says Deripaska hasn't purchased anything. Of course, our own folks on the ground have also spoken with this same source and asked him for a comment. His response of,
"Who the hell knows, everything is possible"
leaves pretty much anything open. For all we know Deripaska's looking to have the General build a space-based golden eye in the sky laser to hold cities hostage.
Obviously it goes without saying the source of the original report, and it would seem, the night watchman sourced by the second report, aren't what we would normally call "credible" — but fear not financial fans, we'll keep on top of Liza so she'll keep on top of this one like caviar and sour cream on a latke. Mmm...latkes.
One More Reason to Buy a Lada: GM and Nissan Accused of Price Fixing in Russia [internal]