:ECARX Holdings, a Chinese auto tech startup backed by Geely Holding Group's chairman, on Thursday said it would go public through a merger with a blank-check firm in a deal that values it at $3.82 billion.
Chinese listings in the United States have been frozen for months, as Beijing and U.S. regulators have been locked in a dispute over the latter's demand for complete access to the books of U.S-listed Chinese companies.
The deal with COVA Acquisition Corp includes a $45 million investment from mobility tech company Geely, lidar sensor maker Luminar Technologies Inc and automotive company Lotus Technology.
Luminar CEO Austin Russell told Reuters that the California-based startup will be investing $15 million in ECARX in a bid to break into the Chinese car market, the world's biggest, and tap customers such as Geely.
"As things are successful, I don't think it would be surprising if we ultimately collaborate even more, invest even more, as this partnership scales," he told Reuters.
With facilities in China and Europe, ECARX focuses on technology used in car chips, high-definition maps and smart vehicles. The company was founded by Ziyu Shen, its chief executive officer, and Li Shufu, Geely's chairman, in 2017.
The planned listing is also supported by $300 million raised by COVA in its initial public offering (IPO) in February last year.
A blank-check firm, or a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), is a listed shell entity that uses the money raised in its IPO to merge with a private company, taking it public in the process.