Feb. 15--After three days of bidding, Chinese-owned Wanxiang has won the auction of Fisker Automotive assets in bankruptcy court.
The results will be confirmed in a hearing Tuesday morning. Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, confirmed via email that his company won the bankruptcy court auction against Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li's Hybrid Tech.
Wanxiang agreed to pay $149.2 million for the assets, far above the $55 million opening bid by Li's group, according to Bloomberg.
"It is too early to comment," Ni said in an email. "We need to learn what other interested parties would want to do."
Wanxiang driving off with the $100,000-plus hybrid Karma wasn't the plan going into Fisker's bankruptcy filing. When the troubled Orange County-based automaker -- funded with more than $1.2 billion in private money, and additional government loans -- puttered into bankruptcy court late last year, it was Li, an early investor in the company, who seemed to have control.
Li paid $25 million to buy a failed loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Taxpayers were left holding the bag on the $139 million difference between the loan value and what Li paid.
That all changed in December when lawyers representing Fisker creditors objected and presented an alternative to Li's plan, backed by Wanxiang and its Chinese billionaire Lu Guanqiu.
Wanxiang had previously snapped up Fisker's sole battery supplier, A123, in bankruptcy court. A123's batteries for the Karma proved defective and led to a costly repair plan. Fisker followed A123 into bankruptcy late last year.
Wanxiang has suggested it could relaunch the Karma as early as this year. Assets acquired in the auction include a shuttered Delaware plant where a lower cost second Fisker vehicle was to be produced. Whether Wanxiang's plan includes using that facility, though, remains to be seen.
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