As U.S. taxpayers lost $139 million of the $192 million Fisker received, Fisker Automotive Inc. has plans to be acquired by a group said to include Richard Li, son of Hong Kong’s richest man.
Hybrid Technology LLC, a newly formed group, paid $25 million to win a U.S. Energy Department auction to take over Fisker’s defaulted taxpayer loan. The group includes Li, according to two U.S. government officials who were briefed on the deal and asked not to be named because the terms are private.
“After having evaluated and pursued all other alternatives, we believe the sale to Hybrid and the related Chapter 11 process is the best alternative for maximizing Fisker Automotive’s value for the benefit of all stakeholders,” Marc Beilinson, Fisker chief restructuring officer, announced in a statement. “The Fisker Automotive technology and product development capability will remain a guiding force in the evolution of the automotive industry under Hybrid’s leadership,” he also added.
The Anaheim, California-based company listed assets of as much as $500 million and debt of as much as $1 billion in a Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Fisker’s assets include a shuttered General Motors Co. factory in Wilmington that the company was supposed to reopen.
The Energy Department decided to auction its interest in Fisker after the company defaulted on its loan without making a payment and attempts to find a buyer failed. The Fisker loan made President Barack Obama a target of Republican opponents, who accused him of “crony capitalism.”
Hybrid Technology is being represented in Washington by the Glover Park Group, a strategic communications firm, whose leadership includes Joe Lockhart, a White House spokesman during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and other top officials from that administration in which Al Gore served as vice president.