Welcome news came for the distressed darling lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems last week, when Chinese auto parts giant Wanxiang Group signed a non-binding MOU to inject up to $450 million in the company through a series of bridge loans, warrants, and convertible notes. Initial estimates suggest Wanxiang would end up holding 80% of the equity in A123 Systems with an investment of that magnitude, and as of this writing on Monday morning, investors seem to be coalescing around the 55 cents per share price tag implied by the terms of the pending deal.
In venture capital, we saw a number of deals transacted with new investors joining rounds last week, and the sectors and technologies targeted by these investments were diverse.
Philadelphia, PA based Viridity Energy raised $15 million in a Series C round from new investor Mitsui Global Investment. Viridity is a developer of a demand response technology platform for the smart grid whose existing investors include Braemar Energy Ventures, Intel Capital, and Novus Energy Partners.
And finally Vnomics, a Pittsford, NY based provider of fleet tracking and operating software for trucking companies hoping to improve fleet efficiency, raised $1.6 million in its Series A round. Investors went undisclosed, and the target amount $2.5 million.
In partnerships, and in a story relevant to our opener this week, Massachusetts based lithium-ion battery maker and A123 Systems competitor Boston-Power entered into a multi-year agreement with Beijing Electric Vehicle Company for the supply of its batteries for electric cars. The deal provides a valuable channel for Boston-Power into the Chinese market, which looks likely to be the proving ground of EV and EV infrastructure investment.