General Motors was set to decide this week whether to sign a contract to sell a majority stake in European arm Opel to Canadian parts maker Magna and Russia's Sberbank.

 Founded in 1863 and bought by GM in 1929, following is a timeline of recent events at Opel:

 November 2008 - Asks Germany for state loan guarantees.

 March 4, 2009 - GM Europe head Carl-Peter Forster says Opel could slash 3,500 jobs and relaunch as an independent company.

 April 28 - Canadian-Austrian firm Magna outlines an offer for Opel.

 May 12 - Russian carmaker GAZ expresses interest in a joint venture with Opel and Magna.

 May 13 - Germany rules out temporary nationalisation of Opel.

 May 20 - GM Europe says three bids have been made; Fiat confirms it bid and a source says private equity investor RHJ International bid.

 May 22 - German officials say Magna submitted a better plan than rivals.

 May 30 - Germany agrees deal with Magna, GM and the U.S. government to save Opel from the bankruptcy of its U.S. parent.

 June 11 - Germany says is still in talks with other potential investors on Opel. 

 July 20 - GM receives binding takeover offers for Opel from Magna, RHJ and Chinese carmaker BAIC.

 July 23 - GM agrees to continue detailed talks with both Magna and RHJ International. BAIC says next day it has dropped out of the running.

 July 28 - Magna offers to increase the upfront capital it would invest in Opel.

 Aug 11 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is ready to intervene personally to support Magna's bid.

 Aug 19 - German government says could provide 4.5 billion euros in state aid for Opel without help from other European governments if GM chooses Magna as the buyer.
 Aug 22 - GM board meeting fails to pick a buyer.

 Sept. 1 - RHJ improves offer.

 Sept 10 - GM agrees to sell a 55 percent stake in Opel to a group led by Magna. Under the deal, GM will retain a 35 percent stake in Opel, with Magna and Russian state-owned bank Sberbank each taking 27.5 percent and workers the remaining 10 percent.

 Sept 14 - Magna says it will cut about 10,500 Opel jobs in Europe, mostly in Germany, aiming to return the carmaker to profit and pay back 4.5 billion euros in state aid.

 Sept 24 - Germany will seek a good European solution over state aid to Opel, and does not expect the EU to block any deal, Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg says.

 Oct 11 - A German government committee approves a 4.5 billion-euro state loan guarantee to back a deal by Magna for Opel, a magazine reports.

 Oct 13 - Magna and a British labour union agree a final stake sale closer.  -- Spanish labour unions say no agreement had been reached with Magna over jobs at Opel's factory in Zaragoza.

 Oct 16 - European Competition Commission Neelie Kroes goes public with concerns that Germany had made its promise of 4.5 billion euros in aid contingent on Magna winning the deal, which would violate EU rules.

 Oct 19 - The Opel Trust says there is no need to reopen the sale process because its decision to pick Magna was based on business and not political factors.

 Oct 20 - Opel Trust chairman Fred Irwin tells German radio no one has an interest in holding up a sale to Magna and GM's board of directors would address the issue within days.

 (Compiled by Michael Shields and Maria Sheahan; Additional writing and editing by David Cutler: Additional writing by Carl Bagh and Jijo Jacob; Editing by Dan Lalor)