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GM and Fiat agree to delay 'put option'

General Motors Corp and Fiat SpA have announced that they will delay by a year the start of the 'put option' that will allow Fiat to sell Fiat Auto to GM.

The option period will now run from Jan 24, 2005 until July 24, 2010, in place of January 2004-July 2009 previously, the two companies said in a statement.

The groups have also entered into an agreement that precludes either party from starting legal proceedings over their original Master Agreement until Dec 15, 2004, while preserving their respective rights. Earlier, GM had indicated that it saw the put option as having been invalidated by Fiat SpA's increase in the capitalisation of Fiat Auto, and by the sale of Fiat Auto's retail financing arm to a consortium of Italian banks.

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