China’s Wanxiang Group has won court approval to take over failed luxury hybrid car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. after successfully outbidding Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li in an auction, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Li’s takeover vehicle, Hybrid Tech Holdings, signaled it would move to collect most of the US$149.2 million Wanxiang is paying, exercising its rights as Fisker’s senior secured lender to trump the claims of Fisker’s unpaid suppliers. Judge Kevin Gross approved the sale of Fisker’s assets to Wanxiang at a hearing in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, leaving for the future the fight over who gets the cash — Li or the suppliers Fisker left unpaid after a short and troubled period of operation, the report said. Fisker filed for Chapter 11 protection last year, out of production and low on cash, after issues with suppliers, technical problems and storm damage rendered it unable to deliver on its promised line of luxury plug-in hybrid vehicles. Nineteen rounds of bidding at an auction last week added more than US$90 million to the starting offer for the distressed company. Competition between Wanxiang and Hybrid Tech drove the price for Fisker so high that Wanxiang will need to seek antitrust clearance to go through with the deal, Fisker attorney Ryan Preston Dahl of Kirkland & Ellis LLP was quoted as saying.
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