By Deepa Seetharaman and Paul Lienert
DETROIT Feb 15 Fisker Automotive has received
serious offers from at least three overseas automakers willing
to invest in and partner with the cash-strapped U.S. hybrid
maker, which hopes to finalize a deal within weeks, people
familiar with the matter said.
Potential suitors for the green-car startup include at least
two Chinese automakers and one European company, two sources
said. Fisker is hoping to sew up a deal by mid-March, another
Fisker is looking to raise between $200 million and $300
million, and sources said it could wind up forming a strategic
pact with two or more partners.
"The company has received detailed proposals from multiple
parties in different continents which are now being evaluated by
the company and its advisers," Fisker spokesman Roger Ormisher
said in an email. He declined to comment further.
A strategic pact would give Fisker the funds to build its
second model, the Atlantic plug-in hybrid. Such a deal is also
important to gain favor with investors after a string of recalls
and financial setbacks cast doubt on Fisker's survival.
Over the past several months, Chief Executive Tony Posawatz
and other Fisker executives have met with several investors and
automakers, particularly in China. Executives met with officials
from several Chinese automakers, including Dongfeng Motor
, Geely Auto and Beijing Auto,
Officials from those companies were not immediately
available to comment.
The company has also held discussions with Wanxiang Group,
China's largest auto parts maker that has since purchased
bankrupt U.S. lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems,
Fisker's primary battery supplier.
ATLANTIC SEDAN IS CRITICAL
The search for financial backers comes after a tough 2012
marred by the rocky and delayed introduction of Fisker's first
car, the $100,000-plus Karma, A123's bankruptcy, and an election
that turned the U.S. government-backed company into a political
The Atlantic is critical toward restoring Fisker's image.
The family sedan, which Fisker showcased at the New York auto
show last year, is expected to start at around $55,000 and be
Fisker's high-volume model.
Fisker planned to use the bulk of a $529 million line of
credit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to build the
Atlantic at a Delaware factory previously owned by General
The loan was awarded to Fisker in 2009 as part of an Obama
administration program to spur advanced vehicle development.
But Fisker's plans were uprooted after the DOE decided to
freeze the loan last year, citing delays in the Karma launch.
Sources said Fisker is now running very low on cash.
DOE officials have been a part of Fisker's ongoing search
for a partner, the sources said. The agency has expressed its
desire to keep Atlantic production in Delaware, as has Fisker.
Finding a strategic partner and building the Atlantic would
lay the foundation for the company to stage an initial public
"Certainly, without a doubt, it is our desire to prepare the
company to be a public company," Posawatz said during a speech
in Detroit last year.
Fisker's strategy echoes the one followed by electric
carmaker Tesla Motors, which has partnerships with
Toyota Motor Corp and Daimler AG and went
public in 2010.