The Chinese, it seems, are on a bit of a shopping spree for automobile brands.
China’s Wanxiang Group has recently made the winning bid for Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc., the maker of luxury plug-in hybrid cars. Wanxiang's big was supposedly at $149.2 million, an amount six times larger compared to what Fisker was asking when it filed for bankruptcy.
Wanxiang was able to outbid Hybrid Tech Holdings which is owned by Richard Li, a Hong Kong billionaire and Fisker investor. The auction began last Wednesday, February 12, after 19 rounds of bidding. Part of Wanxiang’s offer includes $126.2 million dollars in cash and $8 million in assumed liabilities, Fisker said Friday in a statement.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross is scheduled to consider approving the sale on Feb. 18 in Wilmington, Delaware, USA.
When Fisker filed for bankruptcy in November, they asked Gross to let Hybrid Tech Holdings buy the company for $25 million. However, unsecured creditors objected to the price which enabled the Wanxiang Group to be a contender for the ailing company in December.
Last April, company founder Henrik Fisker told the US Congress that hurricane Sandy affected their finances. In the company’s petition presented last November 22, 2013, he listed assets of about $500 million and debt of as much $1 billion.
According to the database of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, among the assets of Fisker are 18 patents that covers grille designs, a fender vent, and electric-vehicle drivetrain technology. It also has at least 18 more patent applications pending, including in aluminum subframing and solar-car technologies, said Charles Shifley, a patent attorney at Banner & Witcoff in Chicago.
In 2010, Fisker also spent $20 million for the abandoned General Motors plant in Wilmington which both Hybrid and Wanxiang are interested to use.
While Fisker owed Hybrid more than $168 million, Gross said they could only use $25 million in any credit bid. With this, Gross is siding with Wanxiang and unsecured creditors who argued a limit was the only way to create a competitive auction. Hybrid later raised its offer to $55 million, including the $25 million credit bid.