Fisker to go public & interested in VW’s MEB platform
Electric car manufacturer Fisker plans to go public through a merger with the investment company Spartan Energy Acquisition Corporation and is currently negotiating with Volkswagen in parallel on the use of the MEB for the series version of the Fisker Ocean electric SUV.
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First to the American company’s stock market ambitions: the Boards of Directors of both Fisker and Spartan have already approved the merger. However, Spartan’s shareholders still have to give their approval. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to a statement from Fisker. The investment company is a subsidiary of Apollo Global Management, and an acquisition company specialized in the takeover of energy companies.
Through the merger, Fisker will automatically become a listed company. The Californian company further announced that the equity value of Fisker in the course of the planned transaction is 2.9 billion US dollars and that the PIPE price is targeted at ten US dollars per share. By going public, Fisker expects to gain the necessary funds to bring the Fisker Ocean into production in late 2022.
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The E-SUV will be available in the USA at prices starting at 37,499 dollars. Taking into account the nationwide tax credit, the price of the Fisker Ocean will initially drop to 29,999 dollars. At the CES in early January 2020, Fisker presented the vehicle directly as a “near-series prototype”. To finance the next steps, the Los Angeles-based company recently concluded a financing round of 50 million dollars. However, such “morsels” are not enough to finance the investment-intensive start of production. The stock market is now supposed to spur this on. According to Reuters, the deal could provide Fisker with gross proceeds of $1 billion.
Fisker does not intend to carry out the production itself but will concentrate primarily on design, software and digital functions. “It’s really not smart for any EV startup to try and make their own factory,” he told the News Agency. Fisker is in discussions with third-party manufacturers, such as Magna. Besides, Reuters reports that Fisker and Spartan have made a presentation to investors explaining that they are negotiating with Volkswagen about using the MEB platform for Fisker Ocean. This should accelerate the market launch of the vehicle and save development costs. Furthermore, the production strategy is apparently to include a European factory.
Meanwhile, a new appointment was made which will play a decisive role in the further development from prototype to production vehicle: Fisker recently appointed Burkhard Huhnke as Chief Technology Officer. Huhnke was previously involved in the development of electric cars at Volkswagen America. As CTO, Huhnke will head Fisker’s research and development in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.
Update 04 August 2020: According to CEO Henrik Fisker, Fisker’s negotiations with Volkswagen on the use of the MEB platform for the production version of the Fisker Ocean electric SUV have been temporarily suspended. After Fisker was not able to make its goal of negotiating a framework agreement with VW by the end of July, the talks are to be continued in September after the end of the summer holidays. When Fisker released its stock exchange announcement, the company was sure to state they it remains “in conversation with several other potential OEMs and suppliers”.
According to Henrik Fisker, the agreement would have allowed him to set his costs, production capacity and the schedule for the start of production. “It is a reality when working with world-class partners that they might not move at our speed,” Fisker says. “This is something of which we must be respectful.”
But Fisker hasn’t yet revealed what engineering costs the company expects to incur in the event of an agreement. The electric SUV Ocean has already been shown in a near-series version. If the model needs to be modified to be compatible with the MEB or another manufacturer’s platform, more profound changes may be necessary.
Other updates concern the planned IPO with Spartan. Spartan Energy Acquisition, a merger partner, was once founded and listed on the stock exchange to offer other companies a shortcut to the traditional IPO process through a merger. Spartan had been given two years to do this by its shareholders. This period expires on 14 August. Spartan has therefore now asked its shareholders to extend the deadline to February 2021. A vote on this is to take place this week.
Update 31 October 2020: Fisker has now completed its merger with the investment company Spartan Energy Acquisition Corporation announced in July for the purpose of an IPO. Fisker’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange has already commenced under the ticker symbol ‘FSR’.
reuters.com, theverge.com, fiskerinc.com (PDF), sec.gov, theverge.com (update), sec.gov (update), businesswire.com (update II)
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