Johnson Controls withdraws from A123 Systems bankruptcy auction

A123 Systems selects bid from Wanxiang.

Johnson Controls withdrew from the bankruptcy auction to acquire portions of A123 Systems when it declined to match a higher bid submitted by Wanxiang. Subsequently A123 representatives have announced they selected Wanxiang's bid of $257 million as the best offer for the total company over a set of competing complementary bids by Johnson Controls for the automotive and government assets and NEC for the grid and commercial assets.

The final sale is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court. Sale to Wanxiang is also subject to review by the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and requires approval by the U.S. government. Timing for such review and approvals is unknown at this time.

"While A123's automotive and government assets were complementary to Johnson Controls' portfolio and aligned with our long-term goals, Wanxiang's offer was beyond the value of those assets to Johnson Controls," said Alex Molinaroli, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. "Reports by other parties that our proposal involved an elimination of jobs in Michigan are inaccurate."

Johnson Controls was the first in the world to produce Li-ion batteries for mass-production vehicles, and also launched the first U.S. facility to produce complete Li-ion battery cells and packs for hybrid and electric vehicles, in Holland, Mich. The company was recently named as one of the industry leaders in the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research $120 million energy research hub led by Argonne National Lab and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 2009, Johnson Controls was awarded a $299 million matching grant by the DOE under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to build domestic manufacturing capacity for advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

"Johnson Controls remains committed to the advanced battery industry and shares the Department of Energy's goal to advance the domestic capability in the United States," said Molinaroli.

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