A123 Systems

Let the bidding begin. In a few weeks, of course.

A123 Systems will likely receive offers from at least four companies when the bankrupt lithium-ion battery pack maker starts receiving bids on December 6. Johnson Controls and China-based Wanxiang Group Corp. will likely be the lead bidders, while Japan's NEC Corp. and Germany's Siemens AG may also jump into the fray, Reuters reports.

Wanxiang, which has made a confidential bid for A123, has drawn concern from US Senators John Thune of South Dakota (R) and Chuck Grassley of Iowa (R), who have asked the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to look into the possibility of a Chinese company getting access to US military contracts. A123 has received about $130 million in US Department of Energy grant funds. A123 recently received US Bankruptcy Court permission to borrow $50 million from Wanxiang.

Meanwhile, A123 has received a $125 million bid from Johnson Controls for its automotive business, whose clients include Fisker, General Motors and BMW.