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法拉第未来谋借壳上市,贾跃亭能否成功翻身?

法拉第未来谋借壳上市,贾跃亭能否成功翻身?

David Z. Morris 2020年10月30日
如果法拉第未来真的上市了,它不可避免地将要承担贾跃亭的一系列管理问题和诚信问题所引发的恶果。

用传统的方法,要想让一家公司上市,其实很简单。首先展示一些早期的成功案例,然后卖股权换取继续扩张的资本。今年有好几家电动汽车初创公司都是用这个路数上市圈钱的,比如电池开发商QuantumScape和货运车辆电动总成制造商Hyliion都获得了几十亿美元的估值。

电动汽车在当下是一个炙手可热的概念,以至于这些初创公司就算并没有什么金光闪闪的点子,也能够拉到不少投资。在现在的资本市场上,没有盈利就融资已经不是什么新鲜事了,但对于电动汽车这样一个连续多年赔本赚吆喝的新生事物,一些投资者仍然抱以充分的宽容,倒也算是一大奇景。

本月初,电动汽车初创公司法拉第未来(没错,就是贾跃亭的法拉第未来)在美宣布,该公司正在谈判通过“特殊目的收购公司”(SPAC)的形式上市。法拉第未来谋求融资8.5亿美元,以正式推出该公司的首款商用电动汽车。SPAC又被称为“空白支票公司”,是一种走捷径的上市融资公司。SPAC模式今年大受欢迎,特别是在电动汽车领域,很大程度上是因为它的上市速度快于传统的IPO模式。

速度虽然有了,但SPAC容易被人诟病的地方,就是它的财务透明度和公众监督度不如传统的IPO模式,因此对投资者来说未必是最佳选择。毕竟由于众所周知的各种财务和运营问题,法拉第未来连一辆车还没有造出来,就已经烧掉20亿美元了。

不过法拉第未来并不是一个人在战斗,另外两家命运多舛的电动汽车公司——菲斯克(Fisker)和卡玛汽车(Karma Automotive),也已经拉到了融资或者正在融资。这是一个值得注意的现象,说明投资者认为电动汽车的概念还是很有希望的——抑或这又是金融市场一次不切实际的狂欢。

法拉第未来的失败

这时又不得不提法拉第未来的创始人——贾跃亭了。如果法拉第未来真的上市了,它不可避免地将要承担贾跃亭的一系列管理问题和诚信问题所引发的恶果。

法拉第未来是贾跃亭在2014年创办的。众所周知,它的注册资本来自贾跃亭的乐视生态。不过早在2016年,法拉第未来就暴露出了拖欠款项、取消建厂、与乐视的电动车项目的关系暧昧不清等问题。据说乐视的电动车项目就动用了法拉第未来的不少资源。

此外还有贾跃亭在国内欠下的账——当时,野蛮扩张的乐视已经欠下了巨额债务,其中很大的一部分与中国国内的“影子银行”有关。事实证明,这场豪赌的结局是很难看的:乐视此后进行了大规模的裁员,并且砍掉了很多子公司。

最让人震惊的是,由于乐视帝国的崩盘,贾跃亭个人也背上了高达36亿美元的债务。这直接导致他个人宣告破产,不过他的债权人仍然指控他采取各种欺诈手段隐藏资产和逃避债务。

菲斯克的厄运

菲斯克倒还没有经历过法拉第未来那样的混乱,不过菲斯克的失利本可避免。今年7月,菲斯克宣布将以29亿美元的估值,通过SPAC模式上市融资10亿美元。不过现在的菲斯克已经是其创始人亨里克•菲斯克创办的第二家电动汽车公司了。它的前身“菲斯克汽车”则以失败告终。

菲斯克汽车公司成立于2007年,在其首款豪华混动车型菲斯克Karma遭遇失败后,公司也于2013年倒闭。Karma的设计虽然广受赞誉,但它却遭到了生产质量不稳定以及供应链和技术方面的问题,最终只生产了2,000台左右。

菲斯克汽车的剩余资产被卖给了中国的一家汽车零部件厂商,后又被拆分为Karma汽车公司。自那以后,Karma汽车又生产了一版换汤不换药的菲斯克Karma,起名叫做Karma Revero,不过产量较少,据报道,2019年该车型只售出了1,000台左右。不过Karma汽车也宣布了上市计划,其目标是通过IPO融资3亿美元。

时代变了?

那么,究竟是发生了哪些变化,让投资者决定忽略这些公司的一些根源性问题?

在谈到公司前景时,法拉第未来的发言人约翰•席林说:“尽管我们遭遇了各种内部和外部压力,但我们仍然在前进。”他表示,迄今为止的20亿美元投资让法拉第未来已经做好了面向未来的准备。“我们有自己的技术……和强大的制造能力,可以迅速开始生产。”

对于法拉第未来来说,这家公司最大的变化,就是贾跃亭不再持股。很多投资人之所以对法拉第未来望而却步,一个重要的原因就是担心贾跃亭。不过随着贾跃亭个人宣告破产,他已经放弃了自己的所有股。但作为法拉第未来的“首席产品和用户生态官”,贾跃亭目前仍然在这家公司里扮演着一个重要的角色。

Karma轿车虽然失败了,但菲斯克却没有那么重的历史包袱。Karma可以说是电动汽车市场真正的先驱者,它打入市场还在特斯拉的Model S之前。菲斯克的一位发言人强调:“我们今天创办的公司已经吸取了过去的所有教训。”

菲斯克学到的教训之一,就是将重点从高端轿跑转变为面向中端市场的全电动SUV,这款新车型预计将在2022年上市。菲斯克最近已经与麦格纳斯太尔公司(Magna Steyr)签订了生产合同——该公司也为梅赛德斯-奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)和丰田(Toyota)等公司代工生产电动汽车。与法拉第未来不同的是,菲斯克表示,它已经有了足够的资金来生产全新车型,而此次融资“只是另一种去风险的手段”。

今年9月,Karma汽车宣布了公司的重大转型计划。该公司计划从2021年起推出新的全电动汽车产品线,包括皮卡和SUV等车型。该公司还招募了一些业界知名的人才,比如麦格纳斯太尔公司的前首席运营官凯文•巴甫洛夫等。

市场大环境的变化也是使投资者更加关注电动汽车的原因之一。今年9月,美国加州政府宣布,到2035年前,加州的所有汽车要全部实现零排放——差不多就是电动化。届时,加州的电动汽车市场将大幅扩大。而电池成本的持续下降,也让电动汽车不久就将在价格上与燃油车有一战之力,并使整个市场迅速向电动汽车转型。

不过说到底,菲斯克和法拉第未来之所以还能够圈到钱,还得感谢特斯拉。由于大家普遍预期汽车电动化的大趋势不可避免,在过去12个月里,特斯拉的股价涨势惊人。菲斯克、法拉第未来和Karma汽车都承认,活跃的投资市场是影响了它们上市决策的重要原因。只要电动汽车的增长势头良好,投资者就很可能愿意把钱投给其他电动汽车厂商,即使它们的光环相对失色。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

用传统的方法,要想让一家公司上市,其实很简单。首先展示一些早期的成功案例,然后卖股权换取继续扩张的资本。今年有好几家电动汽车初创公司都是用这个路数上市圈钱的,比如电池开发商QuantumScape和货运车辆电动总成制造商Hyliion都获得了几十亿美元的估值。

电动汽车在当下是一个炙手可热的概念,以至于这些初创公司就算并没有什么金光闪闪的点子,也能够拉到不少投资。在现在的资本市场上,没有盈利就融资已经不是什么新鲜事了,但对于电动汽车这样一个连续多年赔本赚吆喝的新生事物,一些投资者仍然抱以充分的宽容,倒也算是一大奇景。

本月初,电动汽车初创公司法拉第未来(没错,就是贾跃亭的法拉第未来)在美宣布,该公司正在谈判通过“特殊目的收购公司”(SPAC)的形式上市。法拉第未来谋求融资8.5亿美元,以正式推出该公司的首款商用电动汽车。SPAC又被称为“空白支票公司”,是一种走捷径的上市融资公司。SPAC模式今年大受欢迎,特别是在电动汽车领域,很大程度上是因为它的上市速度快于传统的IPO模式。

速度虽然有了,但SPAC容易被人诟病的地方,就是它的财务透明度和公众监督度不如传统的IPO模式,因此对投资者来说未必是最佳选择。毕竟由于众所周知的各种财务和运营问题,法拉第未来连一辆车还没有造出来,就已经烧掉20亿美元了。

不过法拉第未来并不是一个人在战斗,另外两家命运多舛的电动汽车公司——菲斯克(Fisker)和卡玛汽车(Karma Automotive),也已经拉到了融资或者正在融资。这是一个值得注意的现象,说明投资者认为电动汽车的概念还是很有希望的——抑或这又是金融市场一次不切实际的狂欢。

法拉第未来的失败

这时又不得不提法拉第未来的创始人——贾跃亭了。如果法拉第未来真的上市了,它不可避免地将要承担贾跃亭的一系列管理问题和诚信问题所引发的恶果。

法拉第未来是贾跃亭在2014年创办的。众所周知,它的注册资本来自贾跃亭的乐视生态。不过早在2016年,法拉第未来就暴露出了拖欠款项、取消建厂、与乐视的电动车项目的关系暧昧不清等问题。据说乐视的电动车项目就动用了法拉第未来的不少资源。

此外还有贾跃亭在国内欠下的账——当时,野蛮扩张的乐视已经欠下了巨额债务,其中很大的一部分与中国国内的“影子银行”有关。事实证明,这场豪赌的结局是很难看的:乐视此后进行了大规模的裁员,并且砍掉了很多子公司。

最让人震惊的是,由于乐视帝国的崩盘,贾跃亭个人也背上了高达36亿美元的债务。这直接导致他个人宣告破产,不过他的债权人仍然指控他采取各种欺诈手段隐藏资产和逃避债务。

菲斯克的厄运

菲斯克倒还没有经历过法拉第未来那样的混乱,不过菲斯克的失利本可避免。今年7月,菲斯克宣布将以29亿美元的估值,通过SPAC模式上市融资10亿美元。不过现在的菲斯克已经是其创始人亨里克•菲斯克创办的第二家电动汽车公司了。它的前身“菲斯克汽车”则以失败告终。

菲斯克汽车公司成立于2007年,在其首款豪华混动车型菲斯克Karma遭遇失败后,公司也于2013年倒闭。Karma的设计虽然广受赞誉,但它却遭到了生产质量不稳定以及供应链和技术方面的问题,最终只生产了2,000台左右。

菲斯克汽车的剩余资产被卖给了中国的一家汽车零部件厂商,后又被拆分为Karma汽车公司。自那以后,Karma汽车又生产了一版换汤不换药的菲斯克Karma,起名叫做Karma Revero,不过产量较少,据报道,2019年该车型只售出了1,000台左右。不过Karma汽车也宣布了上市计划,其目标是通过IPO融资3亿美元。

时代变了?

那么,究竟是发生了哪些变化,让投资者决定忽略这些公司的一些根源性问题?

在谈到公司前景时,法拉第未来的发言人约翰•席林说:“尽管我们遭遇了各种内部和外部压力,但我们仍然在前进。”他表示,迄今为止的20亿美元投资让法拉第未来已经做好了面向未来的准备。“我们有自己的技术……和强大的制造能力,可以迅速开始生产。”

对于法拉第未来来说,这家公司最大的变化,就是贾跃亭不再持股。很多投资人之所以对法拉第未来望而却步,一个重要的原因就是担心贾跃亭。不过随着贾跃亭个人宣告破产,他已经放弃了自己的所有股。但作为法拉第未来的“首席产品和用户生态官”,贾跃亭目前仍然在这家公司里扮演着一个重要的角色。

Karma轿车虽然失败了,但菲斯克却没有那么重的历史包袱。Karma可以说是电动汽车市场真正的先驱者,它打入市场还在特斯拉的Model S之前。菲斯克的一位发言人强调:“我们今天创办的公司已经吸取了过去的所有教训。”

菲斯克学到的教训之一,就是将重点从高端轿跑转变为面向中端市场的全电动SUV,这款新车型预计将在2022年上市。菲斯克最近已经与麦格纳斯太尔公司(Magna Steyr)签订了生产合同——该公司也为梅赛德斯-奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)和丰田(Toyota)等公司代工生产电动汽车。与法拉第未来不同的是,菲斯克表示,它已经有了足够的资金来生产全新车型,而此次融资“只是另一种去风险的手段”。

今年9月,Karma汽车宣布了公司的重大转型计划。该公司计划从2021年起推出新的全电动汽车产品线,包括皮卡和SUV等车型。该公司还招募了一些业界知名的人才,比如麦格纳斯太尔公司的前首席运营官凯文•巴甫洛夫等。

市场大环境的变化也是使投资者更加关注电动汽车的原因之一。今年9月,美国加州政府宣布,到2035年前,加州的所有汽车要全部实现零排放——差不多就是电动化。届时,加州的电动汽车市场将大幅扩大。而电池成本的持续下降,也让电动汽车不久就将在价格上与燃油车有一战之力,并使整个市场迅速向电动汽车转型。

不过说到底,菲斯克和法拉第未来之所以还能够圈到钱,还得感谢特斯拉。由于大家普遍预期汽车电动化的大趋势不可避免,在过去12个月里,特斯拉的股价涨势惊人。菲斯克、法拉第未来和Karma汽车都承认,活跃的投资市场是影响了它们上市决策的重要原因。只要电动汽车的增长势头良好,投资者就很可能愿意把钱投给其他电动汽车厂商,即使它们的光环相对失色。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

The conventional path to taking a company public is pretty simple: demonstrate some early success, then sell shares for capital that can be used to expand. This year, electric vehicle startups have gone public in droves on those terms, with multibillion-dollar valuations doled out to innovators like QuantumScape, a battery developer, and Hyliion, which makes electrified powertrains for freight trucks.

EVs are so hot right now that startups don’t need to be particularly promising or novel to nab funding. Raising money before turning a profit is no longer particularly notable, but when it comes to EVs, years of outright failure are apparently just fine by some investors.

The latest example came early this month when EV startup Faraday Future announced that it is negotiating to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company or SPAC. The company aims to raise $850 million to fund its first commercial electric car. SPACs, also known as “blank check companies,” are a quick path to public fundraising that has seen a massive surge in popularity this year, particularly in the EV realm, largely because the method is faster than a conventional initial public offering.

But that speed—which entails somewhat less financial transparency and public scrutiny than a traditional IPO—may not serve investors well. After all, Faraday has already burned through $2 billion without producing a vehicle, thanks to a variety of financial and operational problems.

But Faraday wouldn’t be alone: Two other EV companies with checkered histories, Fisker and Karma Automotive, have secured or are pursuing major new funding. It’s a remarkable indicator of the promise investors see in EVs—or, maybe, of a market craze that has lost touch with reality.

Faraday’s failure

If and when Faraday Future hits public markets, it will bear a huge legacy of mismanagement and alleged deceptive behavior by its founder, Jia Yueting.

Jia started Faraday Future in 2014 using funds from his massive China-based conglomerate, LeEco. But as early as 2016, Faraday was wracked by problems including unpaid bills, canceled factories, and an opaque relationship with LeEco’s EV effort that reportedly drew resources away from Faraday’s own work.

Some of those problems stemmed from problems at Jia’s other company; LeEco was at the time relying on huge debt, much of it drawn from China’s “shadow banking” sector, to fund aggressive expansion. That bet went very badly: LeEco has since gone through massive layoffs and shed many of its subsidiaries.

Most shocking of all, it soon became clear that Jia was personally on the hook for a staggering $3.6 billion worth of liabilities stemming from LeEco’s collapse. That led Jia to declare personal bankruptcy, but his creditors accused him of using a variety of deceptions to hide assets and escape his debts.

Fisker’s bad Karma

Fisker hasn’t dealt with anything like the chaos at Faraday, but it is tarnished by arguably avoidable failure. The company in July announced plans to go public via a SPAC and raise around $1 billion at a $2.9 billion valuation. But Fisker is the second electric vehicle startup from founder Henrik Fisker—and the first, Fisker Automotive, was a flop.

Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 and collapsed by 2013 after the failure of its first model, the luxury gasoline-electric hybrid Fisker Karma. Though widely praised for its design, the vehicle suffered from inconsistent production quality, supply chain problems, and technical issues. Only about 2,000 were ever produced.

The remains of Fisker Automotive were sold to a Chinese auto-parts maker and spun out as Karma Automotive. Karma Automotive has since produced a rebranded version of the Fisker Karma, now known as the Karma Revero, though in small quantities; only about 1,000 Karma Reveros were reportedly sold in 2019. But Karma Automotive, too, recently announced plans to go public, aiming to raise $300 million in an IPO.

What changed?

So what has changed to help investors look past these companies’ troubled roots?

“Even with all of the internal and external forces we’ve encountered, we are still moving forward,” said John Schilling, a spokesperson for Faraday Future, of the company’s prospects. The $2 billion invested so far, he says, positions Faraday well for the future: “We have our own technology…robust manufacturing capabilities, and can begin production quickly.”

But the most significant change at Faraday is that Jia Yueting no longer owns shares in the company. Jia’s power had been cited as a significant deterrent to new investors, given his track record, but he gave up his ownership stake as part of his personal bankruptcy. He does still have a significant role at Faraday, though, as its “chief product and user-eco officer.”

Despite the failure of the Karma, Fisker’s baggage isn’t nearly so heavy. The Karma was a real trailblazer, hitting the market before the Tesla Model S. And a Fisker spokesperson emphasized that “the company we’re building today draws on all of the lessons learned from the past.”

Among other things, that has meant shifting focus from a high-end sports sedan to a mid-market all-electric SUV, expected to go on sale in 2022. Fisker recently signed up contract builder Magna Steyr, which also produces EVs for the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, to produce the car. And unlike Faraday, Fisker says it already has enough funding to produce its debut vehicle, describing its fundraising as “another way to de-risk.”

In September, Karma Automotive announced a major transition of its own. It plans to roll out a new slate of fully electric vehicles, including a pickup and SUV, starting in 2021. It has also added some notable talent, including chief operating officer Kevin Pavlov, formerly of Magna.

Broader market changes have also made EVs generally more appealing to investors. In September, California declared that all cars sold in the state must be zero-emission—primarily meaning electric—by 2035, which can be expected to expand the EV market substantially. And continued declines in the cost of batteries could soon make EVs price-competitive with gas-burning cars and trigger a rapid, market-wide shift to EVs.

But really, Fisker’s and Faraday’s ability to raise money hinges on one word: Tesla. Elon Musk’s company has seen a staggering stock run-up over the past 12 months, as the idea of an EV-dominated future catches on. Fisker, Faraday Future, and Karma Automotive all acknowledge that the active investment market influenced their decision to pursue a public offering right now. As long as the EV growth story holds up, investors will likely be happy to hand over money to other EV makers, even if their halos are slightly tarnished.

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