Geely leading China bids for U.S. green-car startup Fisker: sources

Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:48am EST
 
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By Norihiko Shirouzu

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group is favoured to secure a majority stake in troubled U.S. electric car maker Fisker Automotive, according to two sources familiar with Fisker's search for a strategic investor or partner.

Fisker, the Anaheim-based plug-in hybrid maker, is currently weighing bids from two Chinese auto makers: Geely, the owner of Sweden's Volvo, and state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group Co..

The interest in Fisker reflects China's strong push into alternative fuel cars as it seeks to foster the green technology sector and clear the increasingly polluted skies of its cities.

The knowledgeable individuals said both offers, which Fisker received in the last three weeks, were worth between $200 million to $300 million. A deal would give the suitors a majority stake in the southern Californian company, they said.

The sources, who are close to Fisker, said Geely appeared to be the preferred suitor.

Fisker's corporate leaders and their advisers believe Geely is "more serious" and "passionate" about Fisker and its technology, one of the individuals said.

The Hangzhou-based company also "can move fast" in making decisions -- unlike Dongfeng, whose responsiveness could be hampered by its multi-layered decision-making structure typical in a Chinese state-owned enterprise, the source said.

That quality is likely to work against Dongfeng, since Fisker is under a tight deadline to find a suitor, he added.   Continued...