- Associated Press
Thursday, November 15, 2012

WILMINGTON, Del. — A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of failed solar power company Solyndra’s former headquarters to Seagate Technology for about $90 million.

The judge approved the sale Thursday after Solyndra attorneys said the rights of three vendors who objected to the sale and have asserted disputed mechanic’s liens were being preserved.

Solyndra received a $528 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration to build the Fremont, Calif., headquarters, and the company’s spectacular failure has become a focal point of a fierce debate over the administration’s drive to subsidize companies in the “green energy” field. Republicans, including recent GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, pointed to the taxpayer subsidies as a form of “crony capitalism.”

Last month, the judge overruled government objections and approved Solyndra’s bankruptcy exit plan, under which taxpayers will recover little if anything.

Government lawyers are appealing that ruling, which allows two private equity funds that control Solyndra to potentially reap hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks after Solyndra emerges from bankruptcy, using the company’s net operating losses to offset future income.

The Oakland Tribune reported Thursday that Seagate, a major data-storage firm, has not yet said what it plans to do with the massive, 412,000-square-foot complex. The plant has not been in use for more than a year.

According to the paper, the bankruptcy court agreement requires Seagate to transfer $5 million into an escrow account within the next few days, with another $5 million to be deposited after the company’s due diligence is performed.

Completion of the sale of the plant and the 30-acre site is set for February 2013.

Some 1,100 Solyndra workers lost their jobs when the plant closed in August 2011. The $90.2 million sale price is $210 million below the initial construction price.

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