Fisker Automotive, the green-car company that has not built a car since July, hired restructuring lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The cash-strapped automaker, which furloughed its more than 200 U.S. workers this week to conserve cash, has been exploring bankruptcy as an option, while it continues to look for a strategic partner, two people briefed on the matter said.
A Fisker spokesman declined to comment on the possibility of a bankruptcy restructuring.
On April 22, Fisker must make a payment on a U.S. Department of Energy loan.
In 2009, Fisker won a $529 million federal loan as part of an Obama administration program to spur advanced vehicle development. Fisker drew down $193 million before the Department of Energy barred the company from accessing further funds, citing delays in the launch of its flagship car, the Karma plug-in hybrid.
Fisker had been in strategic talks with two Chinese automakers, Dongfeng Motor Group <0489.HK> and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group , but those talks fell apart. Fisker's chief executive, Tony Posawatz, visited China this week to try to rekindle those deals, sources previously said.
(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit and Paul Lienert in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)