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Is a bidding war brewing over Fisker?

Posting in Finance
Fisker Automotive, the luxury plug-in hybrid automaker that filed for bankruptcy in November after a wave of problems, has another suitor. 

A123 Systems—the bankrupt company that once supplied lithium-ion batteries to Fisker and was later bought by Chinese auto parts manufacturer Wanxiang Group—has made a last-minute bid to buy the automaker, reported the Boston Globe. 

Fisker was set to be sold to Hybrid Tech Holdings, a group led by one of Fisker's original investors billionaire Richard Li. In October, Hybrid agreed to buy Fisker's defaulted government loan at a steep discount. A month later, Fisker filed for bankruptcy and agreed to be acquired by Hybrid. 

Even if Wanxiang Group's A123 Systems fails to buy the company, it's competing bid threatens Hybrid Tech Holdings' plans. Hybrid upped the cash portion of its offer to creditors by $1 million to $26 million in an effort to ward off Wanxiang Group, reported the WSJ. But the effort did little to excite creditors.

Now that Wanxiang Group is vying for the company, creditors have asked a bankruptcy judge to consider an auction. A court hearing on the proposed sale scheduled for Friday has been pushed back in light of the new suitor. An auction has the potential to bring in more interested bidders, who would likely drive up the price for Fisker, which is great for creditors hoping to recover funds. 

Fisker and A123 Systems have a sketchy history. Fisker suffered a number of blows in the past 18 months or so, notably problems with batteries made by A123 Systems for its luxury electric cars. In March 2012, Fisker said it would swap out drive batteries for its 2012 Karma models free of charger after customers experienced unsatisfactory performance. This was the second recall for Fisker, which preemptively recalled faulty A123 systems batteries late last year for posing a fire hazard.

— By on January 3, 2014, 9:01 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure