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China approves Wanxiang plan to buy U.S. battery maker A123

(Reuters) – China’s government has approved a plan by Wanxiang Group Corp, a major Chinese auto parts maker, to acquire bankrupt U.S. battery maker A123 Systems Inc (AONEQ.PK), although a deal still hinges on the outcome of an auction next month and U.S. government approval.

A123, a maker of lithium ion batteries for electric cars, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October with a plan to sell its battery business to Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls (JCI.N) for $125 million.

The planned sale will depend on whether better bids are received at next month’s auction. Wanxiang has said it intends to make a bid.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission, whose approval is required for major overseas acquisitions by Chinese companies, said in a statement posted on its website on Friday that it had approved Wanxiang’s plans for a bid.
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