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A123 owner wins auction for bankrupt Fisker Automotive

The owner of local battery maker A123 Systems LLC on Friday won an auction for bankrupt Fisker Automotive with a bid worth roughly $149 million, according to a lawyer representing creditors.

A123’s owner, the American subsidiary of China’s Wanxiang Group, beat out Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC for the California car company, once an A123 customer. The Waltham company supplied Fisker’s Karma hybrid with batteries. The purchase price includes a 20 percent stake in Fisker for creditors valued at $15 million and $8 million in assumed debt. The rest is cash.

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William R. Baldiga, a lawyer with Brown Rudnick, which is representing creditors, said his team is “delighted” with Wanxiang’s bid.

“The value is six times what [Fisker] said it was worth when it filed for bankruptcy,” said Baldiga, describing negotiations as “two and a half days of yelling, screaming, bidding.”

Pin Ni, president of Wanxiang America, said his company’s purchase makes sense given A123’s past relationship with Fisker. “We will want to get the Karma back online as quickly as possible,” he said.

Wanxiang expressed interest in Fisker several weeks ago, just as the California automaker was set to be purchased by Hybrid Tech, a group led by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li. A bankruptcy court judge ordered the auction and sparked a bidding war.

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