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A123 seeks bankruptcy court approval of asset sale

Randall Chase, AP Business Writer

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- Failed battery maker A123 Systems Inc. is asking a Delaware bankruptcy judge to approve the sale of most of its assets to the U.S. arm of Chinese auto-parts conglomerate Wanxiang (wang-SHIN) Group Corp. for nearly $257 million.

The bid submitted by Wanxiang America last week was more than double the initial $125 million offer for the company's automotive battery unit made by Milwaukee-based auto-parts marker Johnson Controls Inc.

A123's defense-related business assets would be sold separately for $2.25 million to Navitas Systems, of Woodridge, Ill.

If approved by the court, Wanxiang's purchase would still require approval by the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States. The federal interagency committee reviews sales of U.S. companies to foreign owners.

Based in Waltham, Mass., A123 makes lithium-ion batteries for electric cars,