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Chinese companies slowly collecting discounted U.S. electric car assets

Fisker is the latest electric car maker to reach out to Chinese investors and auto tech giants for investment and acquisition. And it’s also the latest electric car company to struggle and face a discounted value.

Electric car startup Fisker Automotive is reportedly weighing investment and acquisition offers from Chinese auto tech companies. Bloomberg reports that there’s a $350 million offer for 85 percent of the company from Chinese state-owned car maker Dongfeng Motor Corp, and Reuters reports that China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (which owns Volvo) has another offer for a majority stake with a deal between $200 million and $300 million.

If Fisker is able to close on either of these deals, it could move its business to China and gain the funds to start manufacturing its second car the Atlantic, as well as start paying back its loan to the Department of Energy. Fisker has been looking for suitors — partners and acquirers — for months, as it wrapped up a year with an incredible amount of problems.

Ray Lane’s Fisker Karma

But $350 million for 85 percent stake is a major discount on the original valuation of Fisker. The company has raised a billion dollars in funding, and at one point back in 2011 had raised money at a reported valuation of $2.2 billion. But in 2012, the company struggled heavily and I had heard that it was looking to raise money last year at a significantly lower valuation. Clearly, when discussions are for majority stake deals for between $200 million and $300 million, there’s been massive discounting.

Fisker isn’t the only energy tech company that’s looking to sell for a discount to Chinese conglomerates. Lithium ion battery maker — which sold batteries for Fisker’s electric car — went bankrupt and its assets are being sold off to Chinese auto tech giant Wanxiang for $256.6 million. A123 Systems held the largest IPO in 2009, raising some $371 million, and went public at $20 per share. A123 also raised more than $350 million from private investors when it was still a startup.
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