Bankrupt EV Startup Fisker in Talks to Sell Fleet to Leasing Business

bankrupt ev startup fisker in talks to sell fleet to leasing business

Fisker, the electric-vehicle startup that filed for bankruptcy earlier this week, is in talks to sell its entire fleet of about 4,300 cars to American Lease, a supplier of leased cars to Uber and Lyft drivers in New York City.

Fisker lawyer Brian Resnick said in a bankruptcy-court hearing in Wilmington, Del., Friday that it is close to wrapping up negotiations for a sale of its remaining vehicle inventory with an unnamed buyer. Neil Miller, chief operating officer of American Lease, confirmed that the business is considering buying Fisker’s fleet. Miller declined to further comment.

Fisker, started by car designer Henrik Fisker and his wife Geeta Gupta Fisker seven years ago, has struggled to navigate a cash crunch in recent months as it searched for a buyer after takeover talks with a large vehicle manufacturer collapsed. In the end, after contacting 40 potential buyers, Fisker found no actionable bid, Fisker Chief Restructuring Officer John DiDonato said in court filings.

Fisker’s bankruptcy marked the latest failure among a string of once-highflying EV startups that looked to upend the traditional auto industry. EV startups Lordstown Motors and Electric Last Mile and bus manufacturers Arrival and Proterra have all filed for bankruptcy since last year.

Fisker now plans to liquidate in bankruptcy. The end of Fisker’s strategic talks earlier this year took away the company’s access to $167 million in debt financing it had lined up from Heights Capital Management, an affiliate of Susquehanna Growth Equity, that was meant to fund operations until it reached a deal to sell to the interested acquirer, according to DiDonato’s court filings.

DiDonato blamed media reports for precipitating an “unprecedented liquidity challenge” from a surprise decline in sales. He also cited cooling consumer demand for electric vehicles amid rising interest rates and more competition for Fisker’s sales declines.

The California-based company filed for bankruptcy with little cash left in its coffers. Heights Capital, the company’s top-ranking bondholder, has agreed to allow Fisker to use cash pledged as collateral to fund operations while it looks to sell its vehicle fleet, Fisker’s lawyer said in court.

The company took on over $850 million in debt, including more than $500 million raised last year from Heights, before its bankruptcy filing.

Fisker’s bankruptcy attorneys are from Davis Polk & Wardwell, while its investment banker is PJT Partners and its operational adviser is FTI Consulting. The case number is 24-11390.

Write to Soma Biswas at [email protected]

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