Opel's slow deal-making is a bad sign

Transcript of story (beginning 1 minute, 12 seconds into the podcast):

The decision about what to do with Opel, General Motors' European subsidiary, has been taking a long time. But if a deal is going to work, it needs to move swiftly. Alisa Roth explores the hold-up.

Bill Radke: The board of General Motors said this morning it's decided what to do with its Opel operations in Europe and it will let us know shortly. The negotiations over selling Opel have been long and difficult. Reporter Alisa Roth wanted to know what happens when a company can't seem to make a deal.

Alisa Roth: Most of the time, if a deal is going to work, it's going to happen quickly.

David Harding works for Bain & Company, a consulting firm. He advises companies about mergers and acquisitions.

David Harding: Well, deals are a lot like produce on the shelf — you want to keep them moving. Anything that sits there means there's something wrong.

The foot-dragging can come from either the buyer or the seller.

James Brock teaches economics at Miami University. He says dawdling often means one of the companies doesn't know what it really wants.

James Brock: It becomes indicative of a kind of lack of focus, a lack of drive, a lack of purpose maybe.

GM's in so much trouble now, most people say it has to sell Opel. Brock says GM's not sure if it wants to sell, because it thinks Opel could be valuable again someday.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.