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Not sure if this was already posted somewhere...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/24/autos-fisker-investor-idUSL2N0E513C20130524

RPT-Henrik Fisker joins Hong Kong tycoon to salvage Fisker -sources
* One of two competing offers in play

* Fisker cofounder teams up with investors trying to buy U.S. loan

* Group may offer between $25 mln and $30 mln for loan

* Sources caution figures are changing, on the rise

* DOE considering ramifications of selling Fisker loan -source

By Deepa Seetharaman and Norihiko Shirouzu

DETROIT/BEIJING, May 24 (Reuters) - Henrik Fisker is working with an investor group to salvage Fisker Automotive, the "green" car company he co-founded nearly six years ago that is now struggling to stave off bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said this week.

The discussions follow Henrik Fisker's resignation from the company in March after finding himself increasingly at odds with other top executives over strategy.

The well-regarded car designer is now teamed up with an investor group led by Hong Kong billionaire and Fisker investor Richard Li. The group is looking to buy the U.S. Department of Energy's loan to Fisker without making the car company resort to bankruptcy.

The Henrik Fisker-Richard Li team is one of at least two groups seeking to revive the automaker. A separate group including former General Motors Co executive Bob Lutz is looking to buy Fisker for $20 million, sources said on Wednesday.

Southern California-based Fisker Automotive is known for its plug-in hybrid sports car, the Karma, which starts at $103,000. The company has not built a car since last July.

Fisker must repay $171 million in DOE loans extended in 2009 under a program intended to promote advanced vehicles. The loans have been one source of pressure on Fisker, which hired bankruptcy advisers this year and has been looking for a buyer.

The DOE is examining the legal ramifications of selling the loan, a person familiar with the DOE's thinking said Thursday.

Such a step would not resolve any outstanding debt owed to suppliers. The company faces a steep challenge to regain credibility after a string of financial and quality setbacks.

But wresting free of its federal loan obligations could make Fisker more attractive to potential buyers. Under that scenario, backers of the company also might be able to recoup their investment, unlike a bankruptcy where they would most likely be wiped out.

Tom LaSorda, who briefly led Fisker last year and has personally invested in the company, said he hoped Fisker could find a buyer outside the bankruptcy process.

"If it goes the other way, you get nothing," LaSorda said in an interview on Thursday. He said buying the U.S. loan would be a "very smart, strategic move," but declined to comment further on investor efforts to salvage the company.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. Fisker Automotive, Henrik Fisker, the DOE and Pacific Century Group, the private investment group chaired by Richard Li, could not be reached for comment.

It was unclear what role Henrik Fisker would take with the company and whether he would further invest in the automaker.

17 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR

Since his exit, Henrik Fisker has been in touch with investors about a potential new role at the company if a new owner can be found, sources have said.

There are at least two investor groups interested in reviving Fisker. In both cases, the DOE is likely to recover just pennies on the dollar for its $171 million loan.

The group led by Li is proposing to buy the U.S. loan for between $25 million and $30 million, or up to 17.5 cents on the dollar, people familiar with the talks said.

Separately, Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group and former GM executive Lutz have teamed up in a bid to buy Fisker in a prearranged bankruptcy for $20 million.

Sources cautioned that the discussions are ongoing and that the figures involved could rise.

Selling the loan would be a rare step for the DOE, but the program gives officials the latitude to help recover the largest amount of taxpayer money possible, experts said.

"The bottom line is, what is in the best interest of having the taxpayer investment repaid?" said Salo Zelermyer, who was senior counsel at the DOE under the Bush administration and helped create the auto loan program.

The talents of Henrik Fisker, who has designed for Aston Martin and BMW, helped attract $1.2 billion in private funds to Fisker Automotive since 2007.

In 2009, the DOE awarded the company a $529 million loan. Fisker received about $192 million before the DOE stopped payments in mid-2011 after the company missed performance targets.

Last month, the DOE seized $21 million from Fisker's bank account to apply against the loan, which is secured by a first priority interest in Fisker's assets, including intellectual property and inventory.
 

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This story has been previously discussed in this thread starting with post #24. I can merge the two threads since they are related, unless there is a reason to keep them separate.
 

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how about this?

UPDATE 1-Ray Lane leaves Fisker board as bidders circle automaker
Tue May 28, 2013 2:23pm EDT
By Paul Lienert and Deepa Seetharaman

May 28 (Reuters) - Venture capitalist Ray Lane resigned from "green" car startup Fisker Automotive's board of directors late last week, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers confirmed on Tuesday.

The exit comes at a time when at least two investor groups are looking to resurrect Fisker, which has not built a car since July, people familiar with the situation have previously said.

Kleiner Perkins was an early investor in Fisker and Lane was among the company's most vocal supporters. The backing of Kleiner Perkins and Lane helped Fisker raise hundreds of millions of dollars in financing from private investors.

But quality and financial missteps during the launch of Fisker's flagship car, the $100,000-plus Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, drained the company's coffers. Earlier this year, Fisker hired bankruptcy advisers and fired the bulk of its workforce.

One group of investors, led by Hong Kong billionaire and Fisker investor Richard Li, is trying to salvage Fisker without resorting to a bankruptcy restructuring. Their goal is to buy the U.S. Department of Energy's loan to Fisker, worth about $171 million, for pennies on the dollar.

A separate group including former General Motors Co executive Bob Lutz and Wanxiang Group has offered to buy Fisker in a prearranged bankruptcy.

Lane left the company on Friday, Kleiner Perkins said. Fisker Automotive was not immediately available to comment.

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Here's my thought on the HF move to get back into FA, if he has any hope of selling anything again to any new car buyers in the future he had better see to it that they make good on the warranty for the +/- 2000 Karma owners out there. Anyone agree?
 

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Here's my thought on the HF move to get back into FA, if he has any hope of selling anything again to any new car buyers in the future he had better see to it that they make good on the warranty for the +/- 2000 Karma owners out there. Anyone agree?
Absolutely! I don't think anyone would buy an Atlantic if the Karma owners were abandoned.
 

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Here's my thought on the HF move to get back into FA, if he has any hope of selling anything again to any new car buyers in the future he had better see to it that they make good on the warranty for the +/- 2000 Karma owners out there. Anyone agree?
The other major hurdle would be the lack of a dealer network - I think a lot of the dealers got burned in a big way and would never touch the product again. That's not to say FA couldn't switch to a more online presence. In this regard Tesla's lawsuits to sell directly could be a benefit to "new Fisker" (Tesla's been sued by dealer associations to prevent direct sales, and Tesla seems to be winning those cases).

There's a diminished need for a physical presence in 2013. Even BMW was talking about a "virtual dealership" for the upcoming i3/i8 (even with an existing network already in place). Why not have a regional rep that can just drive a car to your home for a test drive - more personalized service AND no overhead.

Oh yeah, I guess one reason is that sales centers also double as service centers, and THAT is something people want accessible.
 

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how about this?

UPDATE 1-Ray Lane leaves Fisker board as bidders circle automaker
Tue May 28, 2013 2:23pm EDT
By Paul Lienert and Deepa Seetharaman

May 28 (Reuters) - Venture capitalist Ray Lane resigned from "green" car startup Fisker Automotive's board of directors late last week, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers confirmed on Tuesday.
I have mixed feeling about Ray Lane's departure. On the one hand, he had so much at stake as an investor that I felt as long as he was leading the charge, there was a likelihood that BK could be avoided by putting together a deal and his departure may mean that BK may be inevitable. On the other hand, he failed to provide adult supervision to the management team while he was at the helm, and his departure may be intended to make room for the new investors to come in and take over as part of a transition.

Time will tell.
 

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@fabulist, I had mixed feelings about Ray's departure as well and I came to the same conclusion you did - it seems he added no value as an investor or business guru. His motivations were good, but the execution under his watch was obviously was NOT good. I think his influence may have backfired with the governments loans. Maybe Bob or Henrick (with lessons learned) can put humpty dumpty back on the wall.
 

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The other major hurdle would be the lack of a dealer network - I think a lot of the dealers got burned in a big way and would never touch the product again. That's not to say FA couldn't switch to a more online presence. In this regard Tesla's lawsuits to sell directly could be a benefit to "new Fisker" (Tesla's been sued by dealer associations to prevent direct sales, and Tesla seems to be winning those cases).

There's a diminished need for a physical presence in 2013. Even BMW was talking about a "virtual dealership" for the upcoming i3/i8 (even with an existing network already in place). Why not have a regional rep that can just drive a car to your home for a test drive - more personalized service AND no overhead.

Oh yeah, I guess one reason is that sales centers also double as service centers, and THAT is something people want accessible.
Most states have laws preventing manufacturers from selling direct. I'm a licensed new motor vehice distributor/manufacturer in all 50 states and I can give you a list of states that won't allow it. But a short list includes the largest markets; TX, FL, CA, NY, NJ, ... the laws were written a long time ago to protect local businesses from being put out of business by a manufacturer selling direct.

Toyota tried to go direct with Scion and they couldn't do it. Smart wanted to go direct too, but was forced to create a dealer network.

It's good consumer protection to have a dealer network that's independant from the manufacturers. What if all the dealerships in the US were owned and operated by Fisker? Where would we be today?

Bill
 

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It's good consumer protection to have a dealer network that's independant from the manufacturers. What if all the dealerships in the US were owned and operated by Fisker? Where would we be today?
Bill you are not suggesting that all the cars in the US would be manufactured and directly sold by the same company were it not for dealer protection? The concept that one car manufacturer could suit all buyers seems a big leap from a legal environment that allows car manufacturers to sell directly to their customer.

If what you wonder is where we would be today if all the Fisker dealerships were owned and operated by Fisker; I'm not sure that a large part of the Karma ownership would be in much different shape from where they are now. Many of the dealers have discontinued not only warranty service, but also any type of service at all.

I'm not a student of the auto industry, so no doubt there are good reasons for the law of the land to protect the middle man in the form of a car dealership. I just can't think of any of those reasons right now.
 

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This is just wishful thinking but has anyone here tough about this. Maybe HF team up with Li for a reason. Now with Ray departure maybe there is a spot for Li to end up as a board member and bring HF back as a lead designer.That would be perfect combo. Li as a business mind behind fisker and HF as a designer. Hmmmm........ Sound good to me.
 

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I'm not a student of the auto industry, so no doubt there are good reasons for the law of the land to protect the middle man in the form of a car dealership. I just can't think of any of those reasons right now.
As I understand it, the original purpose of these laws was to stop a manufacturer from establishing their brand through a dealer network and then undercutting those dealers by going direct through their own stores.
 

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As I understand it, the original purpose of these laws was to stop a manufacturer from establishing their brand through a dealer network and then undercutting those dealers by going direct through their own stores.
Another part of the reason for these laws is to prevent the manufacturers setting the selling price and forcing the consumer to pay that price. If the dealers are truly independent of the manufacturer, they can negotiate a price with the buyer and the buyer can go to different dealers and get the best price. Using the Apple store as an example, you pay the same amount for an Iphone 4S at any apple store in the US. But Walmart, Best Buys, and Frys can set their prices on the same Iphone lower, and they often do. If the Apple store was the only way to buy the Iphone, you would not have any choice on price.
 

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Another part of the reason for these laws is to prevent the manufacturers setting the selling price and forcing the consumer to pay that price. If the dealers are truly independent of the manufacturer, they can negotiate a price with the buyer and the buyer can go to different dealers and get the best price.
That is exactly what consumers HATE about buying a car. All the BS with "I have to speak with my manager", factory invoice, etc. You never know whether you got a good deal or a bad deal.

Using the Apple store as an example, you pay the same amount for an Iphone 4S at any apple store in the US. But Walmart, Best Buys, and Frys can set their prices on the same Iphone lower, and they often do. If the Apple store was the only way to buy the Iphone, you would not have any choice on price.
But Apple is not precluded from having its own stores. Auto manufacturers are, forcing consumers into the above car-buying BS.
 

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That is exactly what consumers HATE about buying a car. All the BS with "I have to speak with my manager", factory invoice, etc. You never know whether you got a good deal or a bad deal.
That's true, but the law is more concerned with price fixing than with the unsavory negotiations atmosphere. Having an independent dealer in the middle of that transaction who can choose to sell the car at a lower profit margin, or even a loss if that made sense, makes it practically impossible for the manufacturer to dictate the final selling price. In fact, whenever any manufacturer mentions a price on a national ad, it is always an MSRP, or Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. The dealer is always free to set its own price, regardless of the MSRP.

But Apple is not precluded from having its own stores. Auto manufacturers are.
That was just an example, but Apple may in fact be precluded if it is found to be forcing the consumer to pay a higher price by controlling all the sales channels for its products. Which is one reason why it has always sold through parallel channels to the Apple stores, such as Frys, Best Buy, etc. who can set their own prices.
 

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I have been following the Tesla battle over the dealership issue. Apparently in some states (like North Carolina), Tesla is not allowed to sell their car because they have a service center but no dealership. Requiring sale of the car through a dealership would make it more difficult to start a new car company. I feel that competition pushes innovation, and think the upside outweighs the downside of allowing car sales from the manufacturer. Some people though will always feel more comfortable buying their car in the traditional manner from a dealership. Others have had negative experiences this way, and would prefer to buy directly from the manufacturer. The important thing is to be able to have the choice once you balance the pros and cons of each option for yourself.
 

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Tesla just lost a battle yesterday to be able to sell their cars direct to the public in Texas.

http://www.autonews.com/article/201...attle-to-sell-directly-in-texas#axzz2VH2K6hpD
I wonder if they could get around this requirement by setting up store-within-a-dealership arrangement the same way Apple, Microsoft, Dell and others did in the past. This way, they are associated with a dealer and use their facilities for sales, delivery and service but maintain their Tesla-ness.

And does this mean that Texans cannot order a Tesla over the interwebs to be delivered to them at home?
 

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My understanding is that if you live in North Carolina, you must cross state lines to purchase the Tesla Model S. I am not sure if you would have to drive across state lines to receive delivery of the car, or whether they could deliver to the Tesla service center in Raleigh.
 
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