Beijing Automotive Industry Holding (BAIC), the local partner for Daimler in China, has mandated Pricewaterhouse-Coopers (PwC) to advise on a possible takeover of Opel, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

Earlier the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that BAIC, still holding out hopes that it can beat out leading candidate Magna (MGa.TO), hired PwC, which had asked for permission from the German economics ministry before accepting since the accounting firm had worked for Berlin on the government’s rescue of Opel.

“BAIC is extremely interested in Opel and believes it is the financially strongest bidder with the best strategic concept,” the person said, adding that the spokesman for the German government, Ulrich Wilhelm, told reporters on Wednesday that the bidding process was still open.

Reuters had reported on Wednesday that Fiat was not out of the race for Opel and that BAIC had held talks with members of the German government the day before, where the Chinese carmaker signalled it would “seriously consider” Opel if a deal with Magna failed.

Magna had signed a letter of intent with Opel parent GM before the latter filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday.

Magna’s European chief executive Siegfried Wolf said on Wednesday he hoped to sign a deal in fourt to five weeks with a closing by the end of September. PwC and BAIC declined to comment.


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