Fisker, which made the $100,000+ Karma plug-in hybrid until it shuttered its plant 15 months ago, is said to finally have a buyer in an investment group led by Richard Li, one of Hong Kong's richest men. That's according to a new Reuters report, which notes that the the deal remains private since the sale hasn't been finalized finalized.
The US Department of Energy held an auction to sell the automaker's green-energy loan last Friday and reportedly picked Li's group, and now the two parties are working through the final details of the sale. Fisker owes the DOE $168 million and doesn't have the money to pay it off, with the auction planned as part of a last-ditch effort by the DOE after "exhausting any realistic possibility" to recoup the automaker's outstanding balance. A bankruptcy filing was deemed to be a less-attractive option that would wipe out equity investors, Reuters reports. Pending the sale, Li, who was an early investor in Fisker, will be able to restructure the company without being hindered by DOE loan obligations.
A bid of $30 million was required to enter the auction, which surpasses German investment group Fritz Nols AG's offer of $25 million almost two months ago. The DOE reportedly also required bidders to agree to a plan to promote the manufacture and engineering of green cars in the US. Li's group beat Fritz Nols AG and another investment group that included Chinese parts supplier Wanxiang and former General Motors CEO Bob Lutz.
Fisker won a $529 million loan from the DOE in 2009, and had withdrawn $192 million before the DOE halted loan payments citing delays in Karma production. Fisker laid off 75 percent of its employees in April.