Fisker Automotive Inc., the rechargeable-car maker that’s seeking a partner or a buyer, hired Huron Consulting Group Inc. (HURN) to help manage day-to-day operations during negotiations.
Huron’s Hugh Sawyer is serving as chief administrative officer, said Roger Ormisher, a spokesman for Anaheim, California-based Fisker. The closely held company said in December that it was working with Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR) to find potential investors or partners as Chief Executive Officer Tony Posawatz seeks to raise money.
Sawyer, a turnaround consultant, is in place to help conserve cash as Fisker seeks a buyer or a partner, said a person with knowledge of the process. The Energy Department pulled loans to Fisker last year, depriving the company of more than $300 million in funds.
Fisker is seeking first-round bids by early February, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. If Fisker can’t find a partner or raise funds by midyear, the company risks running low on cash, said one of the people. Fisker’s investors could also put up more money, that person said.
Fisker has already attracted interest from carmakers operating in China, as well as global vehicle producers, the person said. Some suitors are interested in being strategic partners, while others would buy the company and the brand and some are just interested in the technology, according to the person.
“We’re making prudent business decisions to help secure an alliance or partnership,” Ormisher said. He declined to elaborate. Jenna Nichols, a spokeswoman for Huron, didn’t return a call seeking comment.
Fisker still owes the Energy Department almost $200 million from the loan program, according to Ormisher. Its challenges increased when battery supplier A123 Systems Inc. (AONEQ) filed for bankruptcy in October, halting the assembly of Fisker’s Karma vehicle, an advanced plug-in hybrid that runs on an electric motor and a gasoline-powered engine.
The carmaker has raised more than $1.2 billion in private money and hopes to raise more, Posawatz said in December. He joined Fisker as CEO in August after retiring from General Motors Co. as vehicle line director for the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.
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