Solyndra to Cancel Auction Again After Failing to Lure Bids

Solyndra LLC (SOLY), the failed solar-panel maker that got $535 million in government loan guarantees before filing for bankruptcy, will again cancel tomorrow’s auction after failing to draw any offers to continue operating the company, a financial adviser said.

“Solyndra did not receive any acceptable bids to acquire the business on a turnkey basis,” Solyndra’s financial adviser, Eric Carlson with Imperial Capital LLC, said in an e-mail today.

“Solyndra will be withdrawing its sale motion without prejudice and is moving forward with the court-approved auctions of its core assets,” Carlson added.

The auction was intended to keep the company operating and potentially resurrect the jobs lost by some of Solyndra’s former employees. The company set up a supplemental auction in case tomorrow’s sale fell through. The piecemeal sale of the company’s assets will begin with the first round starting on Feb. 22.

The solar-panel maker has twice delayed the auction of its business after failing to draw any acceptable bids, court documents show.

The company, based in Fremont, California, sought Chapter 11 protection Sept. 6. Two days later its offices were raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The solar-panel maker listed about $854.1 million in assets and about $867.1 million in debt in court papers filed Oct. 31.

Congressional Scrutiny

Solyndra’s collapse prompted congressional scrutiny of President Barack Obama, who praised the company during a May 2010 tour of its facilities. The company faces a probe by Republicans in Congress over the federal loan guarantee it used to build a $733 million factory.

Congressional Republicans have questioned the size of government loans made to the fledgling solar-panel maker and whether the Obama administration properly evaluated its potential.

The Republicans have also questioned whether political favoritism may have played a role in awarding the government loan guarantee due to the company’s ties to an Obama fundraiser, billionaire George Kaiser.

Argonaut Ventures, the investment arm of Kaiser’s charitable organization, holds almost 39 percent of Solyndra’s parent, 360 Solar Degree Holdings Inc. Kaiser raised or bundled $50,000 to $100,000 for Obama’s 2008 presidential run.

Federal Grand Jury

In addition to the congressional probe and the FBI investigation, Solyndra has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, court documents show. The subpoena was disclosed in billing records submitted to the bankruptcy court by its special counsel, K&L Gates LLP (1142L).

The back-up auction will be conducted on an asset-by-asset basis or lots of similar items, according to court papers. Potential buyers will have to submit what items they intend to bid on and present proof that they have the financial wherewithal to complete the sale. The auction would be held on- site and online.

Within two business days following the end of that auction, Solyndra will submit a report to the bankruptcy court detailing the winning bidders and the amounts they paid for each item.

The case is In re Solyndra LLC, 11-12799, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Bathon in Wilmington, Delaware, at mbathon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net

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