Fisker deal talks with big automaker collapse, NYSE to delist stock, ET EnergyWorld



<p>A potential bankruptcy will make Fisker the second failed auto startup from Henrik Fisker, who started his career as an automotive designer and was also a Tesla consultant.</p>
A potential bankruptcy will make Fisker the second failed auto startup from Henrik Fisker, who started his career as an automotive designer and was also a Tesla consultant.

Cash-strapped Fisker’s talks with a large automaker for a potential deal have collapsed and the New York Stock Exchange plans to delist the electric-vehicle startup’s shares due to “abnormally low” price levels.

The NYSE has also suspended trading in the stock, it said on Monday, hours after trading was halted pending an announcement. Fisker’s shares were trading at USD 0.09 before the halt and closed at USD 0.13 on Friday.

The termination of talks with the unnamed automaker has led Fisker to search for strategic options including in- or out-of-court restructurings and capital markets transactions, the startup said on Monday.

The news comes a week after the company

paused electric-vehicle production, fanning growing uncertainty around its future.

“I can’t put it if it is next week or next year, but it is inevitable,” Thomas Hayes, Chairman at hedge fund Great Hill Capital, said on the growing chances of Fisker likely to file for bankruptcy protection.

A potential bankruptcy will make Fisker the second failed auto startup from Henrik Fisker, who started his career as an automotive designer and was also a Tesla consultant.

His previous attempt, Fisker Automotive, fell victim to the 2008 financial crisis and filed for bankruptcy in 2013 despite fetching USD 192 million in loans from the Department of Energy.

Fisker’s latest venture was founded in 2016 and went public through a merger with a blank-check firm for a valuation of USD 2.9 billion.

But a slew of supply chain issues, production delays and fundraising hurdles sent its market valuation crashing to less than USD 100 million.

Reuters had earlier this month reported that Japanese automaker Nissan was in advanced talks to invest in the startup.

STRUGGLES TO RAISE FUNDS

Fisker said on Monday it will be unable to meet a closing condition related to its attempt to raise up to USD 150 million by selling convertible notes after missing an interest payment.

The USD 8.4 million payment for some notes due in 2026 was supposed to be paid on March 15, but the startup said it did not pay despite having enough liquidity as it wanted to use the 30-day grace period to talk to investors about its capital structure.

Raising funds has been hard for loss-making EV startups, which have little by way of revenue as they struggle to ramp up production and deliver to customers amid strong competition and a tough economy.

Separately, Fisker said it would ask investors to vote on a proposal for a reverse stock-split at a shareholder meeting on April 24, as it looks to comply with the New York Stock Exchange’s listing norms.

Fisker’s shares have lost more than 90% of their value this year, after the startup flagged going-concern risk in February and paused investments in future projects until it secured a partnership.

It pivoted to a dealer-partner model earlier this year, after delivering less than half of the vehicles it made in 2023 due to logistics issues.

Fisker has pursued a different strategy from Tesla and other EV startups by relying on auto supplier Magna to assemble its vehicles rather than invest the capital to build and operate a factory on its own.

The Fisker Ocean competes with Tesla’s Model Y SUV, and a growing crowd of mid-size electric SUVs such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

  • Published On Mar 26, 2024 at 12:54 PM IST

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