Earlier this week it was revealed that the U.S. Department of Energy had started an auction for the remaining portion of a $192 million loan awarded to electric carstartup Fisker Automotive back in 2010 under the government’s advanced-technology vehicle manufacturing program. There are now reports that the winning bidder for the loan is a consortium that includes Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, an early investor of Fisker.
According to Reuters, which cites people familiar with the deal, the DOE and the Li-backed consortium are now negotiating the final details of the sale. Li was previously reported to be working with Fisker co-founder Henrik Fisker on the bid, though the two are said to have parted ways.
There’s been no mention of how much the DOE plans to sell the loan for, but we do know that bids in its auction needed to be at least $30 million. The remaining portion of the loan stands at $168 million.
Buying the loan would award the consortium a key stake in Fisker, though it’s not clear if control of the company will change. It would also help stave off bankruptcy for Fisker temporarily, although the company does have other debts to suppliers as well as Finland’s Valmet Automotive, the independent manufacturer that built Fisker’s Karma extended-range electric sedan.
Fisker hasn’t built a car in 15 months and to get production running again is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite the challenges, a handful of parties have expressed interest in the company. Rival bids are believed to have come from German consortium Fritz Nol and another consortium led by auto industry veteran Bob Lutz.
Stay tuned for an update.