EV startup Fisker Inc. is discussing a possible sale that would mark the first step in a plan to take the company public.
TheDetroitBureau.com was able to confirm several key details of a story first reported Wednesday afternoon by Reuters news service, though the automaker and its founder and eponymous CEO Henrik Fisker declined to discuss the reports.
California-based Fisker has been looking to raise capital that would help it launch production of its first all-electric model, the Ocean SUV, a move planned for 2022. Earlier Thursday, TheDetroitBureau.com reported, the startup lined up $50 million in new funding from Moore Strategic Ventures LLC. Run by long-time hedge fund manager Louis Bacon, it set a value of more than $1.6 billion for Fisker Inc.
The goal is to line up a so-called “blank-check acquisition company” that might put up as much as $2 billion for the EV carmaker, according to the Reuters report, which was confirmed, in part, by several sources close to Fisker Inc.
In turn, the buyer could then take Fisker public, raising the substantial funding still needed to take the Ocean from concept to production.
Such a deal could follow the same pattern set by Phoenix-based Nikola Corp. earlier this year. That company, which is focusing on the development of both hydrogen and battery-powered heavy trucks and pickups, formally completed a merger with VecoIQ Acquisition Corp. on June 2. It is now listed as NKLA.O, with a share price of $56.75 at the close of trading on Wall Street Tuesday. With a market capitalization of $20.5 billion, Nikola is close to topping Ford, with a market cap of $24.2 billion.
Fisker, however, appears to be setting its sights on Tesla, now the world’s most valuable automotive manufacturer.
Founder Henrik Fisker, a long-time automotive designer, tried to go head-to-head with Tesla once before, with an earlier battery-car company Fisker Automotive. It ran into a series of problems, however, and went bankrupt in 2013, its assets sold off the following year to China’s Wanxiang Group.
Fisker reentered the chase in November 2016, initially teasing plans for an all-electric sedan, to be called the eMotion, using a concept called a supercapacitor, rather than conventional batteries. With the technology now expected to require years of development, Fisker has opted to go back to lithium-ion batteries and, with the Ocean, opt for the SUV body style that now dominates the American market.
According to the Reuters report, “Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp., which is backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc., is leading a bidding war among blank-check companies for Fisker, and could clinch a deal for close to $2 billion as early as next week,” its sources said.
TheDetroitBureau.com’s own sources indicate the deal could come as early as Monday or Tuesday next week.
None of those directly connected to the discussions would comment, either on or off the record.