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Solyndra Pushes Back Sale of Solar-Panel Business Until November

Solyndra LLC, the bankrupt solar-panel maker under an investigation related to a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. government, delayed an auction for virtually all its assets until Nov. 18.

The company decided to put off its Oct. 27 auction to sell the core business in a so-called turnkey sale, according to a court filing in U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware. Potential buyers will now have until Nov. 16 to submit an offer. The company will seek court approval of the sale at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 22.

Solyndra persuaded a judge not to appoint a trustee to oust management and take over its bankruptcy case at an Oct. 17 hearing. The U.S. trustee, an arm of the U.S. Justice Department that monitors corporate bankruptcies, argued the company wasn’t properly disclosing information it needed about contracts.

The solar-panel maker filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on Sept. 6 and was raided two days later by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Solyndra, based in Fremont, California, said it had assets of $859 million and debt of $749 million as of Jan. 1. When the petition was filed, the company said its secured debt was $783.8 million.

Solyndra may have as many as 25 potential bidders, its financial adviser Eric Carlson of Imperial Capital LLC said at a meeting with bankruptcy monitors yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Included are about 14 strategic buyers, companies operating within the same industry looking to gain market share or cost savings, while the rest are financial buyers, looking to buy cheap or undervalued assets, the newspaper reported. Carlson didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Solyndra’s collapse prompted congressional scrutiny of U.S. President Barack Obama, who praised the company during a May 2010 tour of its facilities.

Solyndra faces probes by the FBI and Republicans in Congress over the federal loan guarantee it used to build a $733 million factory.

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

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