A U.S.-based arm of Chinese supplier Wanxiang (Wanxiang America Corporation) was the successful bidder in an auction of the assets of bankrupt electric car startup Fisker Automotive. The winning bid has been valued at approximately $149.2 million, which includes $126.2 million of cash, $8 million of assumed liabilities, and equity in a new entity that will be responsible for Fisker’s assets.
The bid will still have to be approved by a Delaware court overseeing Fisker’s bankruptcy, but is expected to be approved when the court meets on Tuesday. Among Fisker’s assets is a former General Motors plant in Delaware as well as the technology for the Karma extended-range electric sedan and other products planned by Fisker.
As reported earlier in the month, the Fisker brand and logo might not have been included in the sale. This would mean Wanxiang will have to seek permission from the alleged owner, Fisker Coachbuild, for their use, if in fact Wanxiang wants to relaunch Fisker Automotive rather than establish its own brand.
Wanxiang emerged as the auction winner after 19 rounds of bidding, which ended on Friday. The next highest bidder was Hybrid Tech Holdings, a startup backed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li that was originally promised Fisker’s assets for just $25 million. This deal was later rejected when Wanxiang offered up more cash.
As Green Car Reports points out, a $168 million outstanding balance of the original Department Of Energy loan made out to Fisker won’t be repaid back with Wanxiang’s bid. Instead, the current owner of the loan, Hybrid Tech, will be repaid the $25 million it paid the loan and the rest used to pay off Fisker's other, unsecured creditors.
Prior to the auction, Wanxiang said it planned to build cars at the plant in Delaware that Fisker intended to use for production of its proposed Atlantic model (pictured above with Fisker founder Henrik Fisker). Wanxiang, as many readers would already know, previously bought Fisker’s bankrupt battery supplier A123 Systems.
Note, Fisker’s existing management team had alleged that Wanxiang was largely responsible for the original bankruptcy through its buyout of A123 Systems, and was reluctant to see the company sold to Wanxiang. They alleged that Wanxiang cut battery supplies to Fisker after buying A123 Systems, causing Fisker to cease production of its Karma and eventually run out of cash.