GM, Nikola announce reworked, smaller deal focused on fuel-cell supply deal

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DETROIT — General Motors and Nikola Corp. on Monday announced a reworked, smaller agreement that keeps the fuel-cell partnership intact but eliminates an equity stake in the startup for the Detroit automaker as well as plans for building Nikola’s electric pickup truck.

In September, the companies announced a deal under which GM would supply batteries, a chassis architecture, fuel cell systems and a factory to build the startup’s proposed Badger electric pickup in return for an 11 percent stake and $700 million. However, the deal came into question after a short seller attacked Nikola as a fraud, something the company denied.

The new deal, a non-binding memorandum of understanding, is subject to negotiation and a definitive deal, Nikola and GM said in separate statements.

Under the new agreement, GM will supply its fuel-cell system for Nikola’s Class 7 and Class 8 commercial semi-trucks, Nikola said. The companies are also discussing Nikola’s potential use of GM’s Ultium electric battery system in its commercial trailers.

Nikola’s shares fell more than 4 percent in pre-market trading as of 8:22 a.m. ET.

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