UPDATE 2-China’s Dada targets U.S. IPO amid Washington-Beijing tensions

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(Reuters) – Chinese online grocery firm Dada Nexus Ltd said on Monday it aims to raise up to $280.5 million in a U.S. initial public offering (IPO), attempting a listing on New York’s Nasdaq at a time of deepening tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The company set a price range of $15 to $17 per American Depository Share (ADS) for 16.5 million ADS in the IPO, which at the top end of this target would value the company at over $3.7 billion.

Dada’s IPO plan comes amid tighter restrictions from U.S. lawmakers and stock exchange operators on flotations by Chinese companies going public in the United States, in an effort to improve auditing standards and accounting transparency.

The company in its IPO filing flagged that potential U.S. laws “could cause investor uncertainty for affected issuers, including us, and the market price of the ADSs could be adversely affected, and we could be delisted.”

The company had been aiming an IPO of around $500 million but pared back the plans in part due to the uncertain political environment, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Dada said bit.ly/3gFAHjj e-commerce major JD.Com and retail giant Walmart Inc, existing investors in the company, have expressed interest in buying up to $60 million and $30 million respectively in the IPO.

Dada operates JD-Daojia, a local on-demand retail platform that caters to 27.6 million active consumers and Dada Now, a local on-demand delivery platform whose intra-city service currently covers 700 cities and counties in China.

Dada plans to use about 40% of the proceeds from the offering to implement marketing initiatives and grow its user base.

Dada’s net loss available to ordinary shareholders last year widened to 2.46 billion yuan ($344.73 million) from 2.39 billion yuan in 2018.

The company plans to list on Nasdaq under the symbol “DADA”. Goldman Sachs, BofA Securities and Jefferies are the lead underwriters to Dada’s offering.

($1 = 7.1360 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru and Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Alistair Bell

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