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If you've ever wanted to buy Fisker Automotive – not just a Karma, but the whole company – the opportunity is coming. The federal government is looking for a buyer for the automaker's $168 million Department of Energy debt note. That number comes from the original loan commitment of $528 million. Fisker only received $192 million of that funding, however, and the DOE has since "recouped more than $28 million from the company's accounts." It's that last $168 million that is proving to be a problem, but at least one offer – from German investors Ingo Voigt and Fritz Nol - has been submitted.

In a post on the DOE's blog, the executive director of the loan program office, Peter Davidson, explained that looking for a new buyer is best course of action. Here's the salient paragraph:

After exhausting any realistic possibility for a sale that might have protected our entire investment, the Department announced today that we are auctioning the remainder of Fisker's loan obligation, offering the best possible recovery for the taxpayer. Consistent with the intent and statutory purpose of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, the Department will require all bids to include a commitment and business plan that promotes domestic manufacturing capabilities and related engineering for advanced technology vehicles here in the United States.

While the writing has been on the wall for a while, Fisker has still not yet declared bankruptcy. Now that the DOE has given up on getting its money back from Fisker, it would like to point out, as Davidson does in his writeup, that all of the losses (including Fisker and Solyndra, another government loan pinata), "only represent about 2 percent of our overall loan program portfolio of approximately $34 billion – and less than 10 percent of the loan loss reserve Congress set aside for the program."