Wanxiang Seeks to Be Lead Bidder at A123 Asset Auction

Wanxiang America Corp. said it wants to be the lead bidder for the assets of A123 Systems Inc., the bankrupt maker of electric-car batteries that received a $249.1 million federal grant.

“Although the debtors have not yet engaged in negotiations with Wanxiang America over the details of that proposal, Wanxiang America is hopeful that such negotiations will commence as soon as possible,” Edmon Morton, a Wanxiang attorney, said in a filing today in bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware.

A123, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, filed for bankruptcy protection last month and said it would sell its automotive-business assets to Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc. in a deal valued at about $125 million.

Wanxiang, a unit of Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp., today filed an objection to the proposed sale timeline for A123’s assets “as a protective measure in case the debtors ultimately decide to proceed with JCI as their stalking horse bidder,” Morton said.

Wanxiang is interested in purchasing virtually all of A123’s assets and is willing to “provide greater consideration,” according to court papers.

The case is In re A123 Systems Inc., 12-12859, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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