A Canadian auto supplier took a huge step toward acquiring GM's European brands today, the Wall Street Journal reports. Emerging from negotiations, Germany's finance minister approved Magna's merger with GM's German arm Opel, pledging about $2.1 billion to help keep Opel afloat. But details remain: Germany is still pushing to separate Opel and British Vauxhall from GM, so Berlin's billions don't end up in American pockets.
The acquisition poses new challenges to flamboyant Magna founder Frank Stronach, whose company will have to compete with its customers—major automakers who buy Magna auto parts such as seats and engine parts. The deal also forces Stronach to master "the marketing savvy" to "figure out what the public wants," one analyst said. "To my knowledge, they really don't have any experience marketing to end consumers." (Read more General Motors stories.)