Naspers plans to lessen its exposure to China’s Tencent by reducing its stake from 33.2% to 31.2%, the JSE-listed technology and media group said in a statement to shareholders on Thursday.
It will dispose of up to 190m shares in Tencent, which owns the popular QQ and WeChat platforms, it said.
“The funds will be used to reinforce Naspers’s balance sheet and will be invested over time to accelerate
the growth of our classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally and to pursue other
exciting growth opportunities when they arise.”
Naspers has not previously sold any Tencent shares. It first invested in the company in 2001.
With a market capitalisation of R6.3 trillion at the time of writing, 2% is worth about R126bn. It’s not clear yet exactly how much it will raise through the sale.
Naspers said it considers Tencent to be “one of the very best growth enterprises in any industry in the world, managed by an exceptionally able team”.
“Tencent understands and supports the intention to sell. Naspers will not sell further Tencent shares for at least the next three years, in line with its long-term belief in Tencent’s business.”
The Tencent sale shares will be offered to institutional investors globally. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have been appointed as joint global coordinators and joint book runners to manage the transaction.
“Books are open now and are expected to close prior to the Hong Kong market opening. The Global Coordinators reserve the right to accelerate closing of the books.” — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media