Johnson Controls declines lender role for A123

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Associated Press

Posted on October 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 27 at 12:01 PM

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Auto parts maker Johnson Controls says it will step away from its position as the debtor-in-possession lender during the bankruptcy process for battery maker A123 Systems in order to prevent delays.

The company wants to avoid a premature legal tussle with the Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group Corp., which is challenging Johnson Controls' role as the primary bidder for A123.

Massachusetts' A123 Systems Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, and Johnson Controls Inc. agreed to buy its automotive assets. Johnson says it maintains that $125 million offer, and it plans to expand the offer to include the company's government business.

Johnson, based in Milwaukee, says it also maintains its primary position in the bankruptcy process, subject to court approval next month, over Wanxiang or any other rivals.

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