The struggle to pick an owner for General Motors' Opel unit was set to come to a head on Thursday after the U.S. carmaker said it had made a decision and would communicate the verdict at a news conference.

Following is a summary of recent events at Opel, founded in 1863 and bought by GM in 1929:

November 2008 - Opel 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 auto parts maker Magna presents outlines of an offer for Opel.

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

May 13 - Germany rules out temporary Opel nationalization.

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

May 22 - Magna emerges as favorite after German officials say it submitted a better plan than rival bidders.

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 it 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.

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

August 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.

August 22 - GM board meeting fails to pick a buyer.

August 24 - Sources with knowledge of the deliberations say GM is considering a plan to raise funding to keep Opel instead of selling the company.

September 1 - RHJ improves offer.

September 9 - After a two-day board meeting, GM shakes up its management and dispatches its chief negotiator on the sale of Opel to Berlin to announce GM's pick of a buyer, people familiar with the proceedings say.

(Compiled by Maria Sheahan and Ludwig Burger; Additional writing by David Cutler, Carl Bagh and Jijo Jacob; Editing by David Holmes)