Fisker lays off hundreds of workers in bid to keep electric vehicle startup alive

Fisker, a struggling electric vehicle startup, has laid off hundreds of employees in an attempt to stay alive, as it continues to seek financing, a buyout or prepare for bankruptcy.

Workers suspected layoffs were coming when the company ordered everyone to work from home on Wednesday, an unusual directive, according to several current and former employees. The layoffs were announced during a general meeting held Wednesday morning.

Founder and CEO Henrik Fisker told employees that the large investor to whom his company owes money (and the chief restructuring officer working on the investor’s behalf) wanted to lay off more people, according to employees who attended. Fisker has never revealed who is behind the convertible debt investment in question, although Henrik Fisker referenced Heights Capital Management during Wednesday’s meeting when he discussed the layoffs, according to the two employees. Heights Capital Management is a subsidiary of financial services giant Susquehanna International Group.

After that, people started “dropping like flies,” one employee told TechCrunch.

One current and one laid-off employee estimated there are only about 150 people left at the company.

Fisker has already gone through several rounds of layoffs. He announced 15% cuts in February. Fisker employed 1,135 people as of April 19, according to a regulatory filing. Those workforce numbers were reduced by an unknown amount after another round of layoffs in late April and another round in late May before Wednesday’s cuts.

Fisker did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Restructuring officer John DiDonato also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. DiDonato previously told the California Employment Development Department on April 29 that he planned to lay off more than 300 workers on June 28 if the company “was unable to address its operational cash needs,” according to documents obtained by TechCrunch.

Despite the widespread cuts, Henrik Fisker struck a somber but determined tone during the call, according to sources. At one point, he noted that the company built “something great” and would continue to sell its only electric vehicle, the Ocean SUV, to people who wanted to buy it.

He also suggested that laid-off workers would be rehired once the company was back up and running, according to the account of a person who attended the meeting.

Many workers initially learned they had been laid off after losing access to Microsoft services such as Teams or Outlook. Later that day, some employees received an email officially announcing that they had been laid off with one week of severance pay. The laid-off employees echoed similar details in posts on LinkedIn.

These new layoffs come after months of trouble at Fisker and less than a year after the company began large-scale deliveries of the Ocean SUV.

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