A123 wins bankruptcy court approval of asset sale

Failed car battery maker A123 Systems wins court approval of sale to Chinese conglomerate

Associated Press

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved the sale of most of the assets of failed battery maker A123 Systems Inc. to the U.S. arm of Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group Corp. for nearly $257 million.

In asking Judge Kevin Carey to approve the sale, attorneys for A123 noted that the winning bid submitted by Wanxiang America Corp. last week was more than double an initial $125 million offer for the company's automotive battery unit by Milwaukee-based auto parts marker Johnson Controls Inc.

Even though A123's defense-related business assets will be sold separately for $2.25 million to Navitas Systems, of Woodridge, Ill., Wanxiang's purchase still requires approval by the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States, a federal interagency committee that reviews sales of U.S. companies to foreign owners.

An attorney for A123 told Carey that the initial 30-day review period for CFIUS expires Wednesday, and that the panel plans to continue its investigation during a 45-day extension, meaning a decision may not come until mid-January.

Because of its role as the lead bidder, Johnson Controls is entitled to a breakup fee and expense reimbursement totaling $5.5 million. But Carey ruled that the breakup fee will be put in escrow pending an investigation by A123's official creditors committee, which suggested that Johnson Controls, after losing out on the bidding, is now lobbying for CFIUS to deny approval of the Wanxiang deal.

Carey said he was troubled by the suggestion that after participating in the auction, JCI may be now working against the sale to Wanxiang.

"Something has been raised here today that gives me pause," Carey said, adding that putting the breakup fee in escrow was the prudent thing to do.

Josh Feltman, an attorney for JCI, told Carey he had no personal knowledge of Johnson Controls working to scuttle Wanxiang's purchase of A123. But he said was aware that some members of Congress opposed the sale to Wanxiang and would have preferred that JCI won the auction.

Feltman said that even if JCI were lobbying against the deal, it was still entitled to its breakup fee and should not be penalized for "sympathizing with a bunch of Michigan congressional delegates."

Waltham, Mass.-based A123, which makes lithium ion batteries for electric cars, grid storage and commercial and military applications, sought bankruptcy protection in October, three years after being awarded a $249 million Department of Energy grant.

Attorneys for A123 and the Department of Justice said Tuesday that they had reached an agreement resolving a DOJ objection to the sale. The DOJ had argued that A123 needed the government's consent for the sale because of the 2009 grant.

Under the deal, Wanxiang will acquire A123's automotive, grid and commercial business assets, including all technology, products, customer contracts and U.S. facilities in Michigan, Massachusetts and Missouri. It will also get A123's cathode powder manufacturing operations in China and its equity interest in Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co., A123's joint venture with Shanghai Automotive.

Wanxiang has agreed that if it does not receive CFIUS approval by the time the sale closes, it will set up a trust that will become the new owner of A123. The trust would own and operate A123 until CFIUS decides whether to approve Wanxiang's purchase. If CFIUS approves the sale, the trust will be dissolved and the assets will pass to Wanxiang. If CFIUS refuses to approve the sale, the trust will dispose of A123's assets for the benefit of Wanxiang.

Rates

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • Enjoy this refreshing Triple Play offer!

    Get FIOS TV Mundo starting at $79.99/mo. w/ no annual contract + 2-yr. price guarantee. Or sign for 2 yrs. & get a $300 prepaid Visa. Click here.

    AdChoicesVerizon FiOS ®Sponsored
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford

    50+? Request a free quote and you could save $404* on Auto Insurance from The Hartford!

    AdChoicesThe HartfordSponsored
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • Follow Your Nose For the Fruity Taste That Shows!

    Kids Asleep? Now's Your Chance to Enjoy a Bowl of Fruity and Delicious Froot Loops®!

    AdChoicesKellogg's Froot Loops®Sponsored
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • 10 rock-solid stocks for conservative investors

    10 rock-solid stocks for conservative investors Shares with low volatility can beat their indexes with less risk Bloomberg News/Landov U.S. Bancorp is the cheapest S&P 500 stock

    MarketWatch
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Get a Move On With Budget Truck

    Starting college can be tough, but moving to your dorms doesn’t have to be! Make the move easier by renting a Budget Truck.

    AdChoicesBudget TruckSponsored
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…

    Credit.com