Johnson Controls withdraws from A123 Systems bankruptcy auction

Johnson Controls officially 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. A hearing is currently scheduled for Dec. 11, 2012. Sale to Wanxiang is also subject to review by the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States and requires approval by the U.S. government. Timing for such review and approvals is unknown at this time.

Johnson Controls produces Li-ion batteries for mass-production vehicles, and opened a U.S. facility to produce complete Li-ion battery cells and packs for hybrid and electric vehicles, in Holland, Mich.

The company was named as a participant 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 won 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.

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