Fisker Hires Investment Bank To Find Funding, Partner Companies

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2012 Fisker Karma in Costco parking lot, Santa Monica, California [photo: Chris Williams]

2012 Fisker Karma in Costco parking lot, Santa Monica, California [photo: Chris Williams]

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Fisker Automotive, often referring to in the media as "struggling," is looking for additional funding and a carmaking partner.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), the company has now hired an investment bank, Evercore Partners, to assist in those quests.

Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz, on the job just four months, told the Journal today that the company is working with Evercore to identify a strategic partner.

"We are in serious discussions with multiple strategic partners," Posawatz said, both in China and Europe.

Fisker halted assembly of its Karma range-extended electric luxury sedan several months ago, when its lithium-ion cell supplier A123 Systems declared bankruptcy.

It is assumed to have produced 2,000 to 3,000 Karmas before production was shut down.

Fisker said it has approximately 100 battery packs on hand from A123, which will allow it to provide service parts. That number is not sufficient to restart Karma production, however.

The company lost about 300 new Karmas to flood waters and fire at a New Jersey port during Hurricane Sandy.

While Evercore advised General Motors during its bankruptcy, Posawatz specifically ruled out bankruptcy for Fisker.

The Wall Street Journal story says, however, that Fisker Automotive could be sold outright, according to the paper's sources.

If that happens, any new owner would most likely not have access to remaining low-interest loan funds from the Department of Energy.

Fisker's loan under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program was frozen early in 2011 after it missed numerous deadlines for Karma production.

Roughly $190 million of the $529 million commitment had been disbursed.

The privately-held Fisker, along with publicly-traded Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], were criticized as "loser companies" by unsuccessful Republican candidate Mitt Romney during this fall's U.S. presidential campaign.

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