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Abramowitz Bid for Better Place Fails

August 27, 2013 By:
JTA
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TEL AVIV— Israeli green entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz failed in his bid to buy the bankrupt electric car company Better Place.

Abramowitz's  company, Green EV Operation, on Sunday could not make a monthly payment of $1 million to Better Place's liquidator.

As a result, the Lod District Court approved the sale of Better Place to Tzachi Merkur, CEO of Success Parking, an Israeli parking garage company, according to The Marker, Haaretz's business publication. Merkur will pay approximately $3 million for Better Place.

Last month Abramowitz, in partnership with the Association for the Advancement of Electric Transport in Israel, won a bid to buy Better Place’s Israeli infrastructure and intellectual property for about $11 million.

Abramowitz told JTA that his bid failed because the liquidator did not provide lists of drivers to bill for the company's battery-swap stations. Also, he said, Israel's Transportation Ministry would not release 350 Better Place cars held at port unless Abramowitz bought an import license.

"To this day neither the cars were released nor was there a functioning database from which to bill users," Abramowitz told JTA. "This not only killed our cash position but was the deathblow for investor confidence in our business model."

According to Abramowitz, the 900 Better Place car owners in Israel drove more than 1 million miles and had 10,000 battery swaps since Abramowitz bought the company.

Better Place, founded in 2007 by CEO Shai Agassi, aimed to revolutionize the electric car industry by selling cars with switchable batteries. The company declared bankruptcy in May after losing $850 million.

The Boston-raised Abramowitz  made aliyah with his family in 2006 to Kibbutz Ketura in Israel's South. He is a co-founder of the Arava Power Company, a solar power provider in the Negev Desert.

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