With the surprise last-minute bid for the remains of Fisker Automotive, a Federal judge decided to delay the Fisker auction until late February. In response to a better bid from the Wanxiang Group, Hybrid Holdings LLC. has more than doubled its bid. Is this the beginning of a bidding war? Sure seems like it.
Hybrid Tech Holdings, owned by Hong Kong billionaire investor Richard Li, originally put in a paltry bid of just $25 million for the rights to Fisker, a company indebited to U.S. taxpayers to the tune of $192 million. Wanxiang, which owns Fisker’s battery maker A123 Systems, came in with a $25.8 million bid as well as assumed debt, before upping their bid to $35.7 million.
In response, Hybrid Holdings upped the ante with a $55 million bid, and also has the backing of whatever is left of Fisker’s management, who hold the opinion that Wanxiang deliberately held back battery deliveries to kill Fisker faster. Seems a little silly given the fact that Fisker was losing some $30,000 on every vehicle it sold and had a preferential contract with A123 Systems, which also went bankrupt.
Both Wanxiang and Hybrid Holdings claim they want to relaunch the Fisker Karma and continue development of the smaller Fisker Atlantic. Since Wanxiang already owns Fisker’s battery maker it seems like the better hope for resuming Karma production, at least to me. America has been willing to give Chrysler and GM a second chance, but can a boutique car maker like Fisker really bounce back after a very public and politically-toxic meltdown?