EXCLUSIVE-Nissan and Fisker in advanced talks for investment and partnership – sources – 03/01/2024 at 9:17 p.m.

((Automated translation by Reuters, please see disclaimer https://bit.ly/rtrsauto))

(Added share price in paragraph 6, details and context in paragraphs 7 et seq.) by Abhirup Roy and Norihiko Shirouzu

Nissan 7201.T is in advanced talks to invest in electric vehicle maker Fisker FSR.N in a deal that could give the Japanese automaker access to an electric pickup while giving the struggling startup a lifeline financial bailout, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

The deal could close this month, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because negotiations are ongoing and have not been finalized.

Terms discussed include Nissan investing more than $400 million in Fisker’s truck platform and building Fisker’s planned Alaska pickup starting in 2026 at one of its US assembly plants. “United,” one of the sources said. Nissan would build its own electric pickup on the same platform, the source said. Nissan has U.S. assembly plants in Mississippi and Tennessee.

Fisker said Thursday, when it announced it may not be able to continue operations and would cut 15% of its workforce, that it was in talks with a major automaker about a potential investment and a joint development partnership. The name of the manufacturer was not mentioned.

A Fisker spokesperson said the company does not comment on speculation, while Nissan representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Fisker stock had lost about 45% before the Reuters article was published, but it offset those losses and was trading down about 25%, with a market capitalization of more than $295 million.

The term sheet is ready and the deal is undergoing due diligence, one of the sources said.

Nissan pioneered electric vehicles with its full-battery-powered Leaf hatchback in 2010, but has since struggled against more nimble newcomers. A deal with Fisker would help it enter the growing electric pickup truck market in the United States.

The discussions between Nissan and Fisker follow Nissan’s “rebalanced” relationship with its long-standing alliance partner, Renault RENA.PA .

Last year, Nissan and Renault finalized the terms of a restructured alliance after months of negotiations. The aim is to achieve cross-shareholdings of 15% under the deal.

The more limited alliance removes some restrictions and has opened the way for Nissan to develop growth plans in areas such as EVs and software independently of Renault, said one of the sources, who is familiar with Nissan’s thinking. Nissan.

The automaker, headquartered in Yokohama, is exploring “many, many opportunities,” this person said.

For Fisker, the deal could be the lifeline it needs to survive at a time when aggressive global price cuts by EV leaders Tesla TSLA.O and BYD 002594.SZ are weighing on the industry, especially start-ups like Fisker.

Fisker has struggled to sell its flagship Ocean electric SUV after high interest rates led to a slowdown in demand. The company said its current financial resources were “insufficient” to cover the next 12 months and that, without additional financing, it could be forced to reduce production, reduce investments, reduce operations and cut jobs .

Fisker also said Thursday that it was in talks with a debt holder about a potential investment. Fisker said it aims to deliver between 20,000 and 22,000 Ocean vehicles in 2024.

Fisker Chief Executive Henrik Fisker previously told Reuters the company was in talks with five automakers about a partnership to secure additional production capacity for its vehicles. On Thursday, he said discussions had narrowed to a single automaker and that a deal would include joint development of one or more electric vehicle platforms, as well as manufacturing in North America.

Last year, Fisker revealed the Alaska pickup truck, priced just over $45,000, and said production was scheduled for early next year. The Alaska platform is an extended version of the Ocean platform. This and any other related Nissan vehicles would compete in a segment that includes the Ford FN F-150 Lightning, GM’s Chevrolet Silverado electric truck GM.N , Rivian’s R1T RIVN.O and Tesla’s Cybertruck.

Henrik Fisker, however, said on Thursday that the startup would not spend money on additional projects until a strategic partnership was in place.

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