Mullen Automotive is the leading bidder for bankrupt commercial EV maker Electric Last Mile Solutions, its second big deal this month as it aims to supply its own electric vehicle.
The California-based automaker placed a stalking horse bid of nearly $92 million to buy ELMS, which had developed a commercial EV, the Urban Delivery, before running out of money during an SEC investigation into insider trading allegations.
Mullen will pay $55 million for the company’s assets, including inventory, intellectual property rights and its Mishawaka, Indiana, plant, and assume $37 million in liabilities, according to an SEC filing. Mullen paid a $5.5 million down payment for the purchase.
Michigan-based Electric Last Mile Solutions filed for bankruptcy in June, less than a year after it went public through a $1.4 billion SPAC deal. Meanwhile, Mullen, which hasn’t launched a vehicle since the SPAC merger in 2021, has its own issues: NASDAQ warned earlier this month that the company could be taken off the market as its stock price traded below $1 for 30 consecutive days.
Mullen made the announcement from NASDAQ a day after it acquired a 60% majority stake in Bollinger Motors, a Michigan-based startup focused on building battery-electric commercial trucks and off-road pickups.
The $148.2 million cash and stock deal prompted Mullen to expand into the “in-demand commercial EV space,” said David Michery, CEO and chairman of Mullen Automotive.
To regain NASDAQ compliance, Mullen’s stock must trade above $1 per share for 10 consecutive business days before March 6, 2023.
The automaker did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
The growing list of troubled EV manufacturers underscores the difficulty of building and launching a car without the resources of an old car maker. Several startups that have gone public in high-profile reverse mergers in recent years have faced bankruptcy, SEC scrutiny or money troubles.
Mullen plans to build its first electric crossover, the Mullen Five, in 2024 in Tunica, Mississippi. The company last week gave a glimpse of the Five RS, an “ultra-high-performance EV sport crossover” with 1,000 horsepower, a top speed of 200 mph and acceleration from 0 to 60 in less than two seconds.
“The FIVE RS aims to become one of the fastest vehicles in the world and compete with some of the best and most well-known and highly regarded car tents,” Michery said in a statement.