A123 Eyed by Foreign Bidders on Auction Date

Bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems was scheduled to go up for auction today behind closed doors at a Chicago law firm, but the list of bidders is likely to cause trouble.

Millions of dollars in government grants have already gone into the company, which sells batteries to Fisker and GM among others, in a push to promote green energy. While the auction isn’t open to the public, Automotive News says sources close to the auction suggest the bidders include Johnson Controls Inc. of Milwaukee, NEC Corp. of Japan, Siemens AG of Germany and Wanxiang Group Corp of China.

It isn’t clear if those firms are the only bidders, but U.S. taxpayer funded technology being passed to a Chinese company will be met with opposition. The U.S. Government has already said it needs to give consent before its $249 million grant can be transferred to a new owner.

If A123 is sold to a no-U.S. company, it would mean millions in tax dollars essentially being given to a foreign company. Even without the $249 million, A123 will still have access to $120 million in various other Government grants.

The auction as meant to start at 10 a.m. today, but was delayed for involved parties to review contracts. Bojan Guzina, a Sidley Austin attorney who represents Wanxiang, said the auction would last into next week.

[Source: Automotive News]