Naspers to reduce its stake in Tencent

JSE-listed Naspers said on Thursday that it intends to sell up to 190 million Tencent shares, equal to 2% of the total issued share capital, reducing its stake in the Shenzhen-based company from 33.2% to 31.2%.

Shares in Naspers declined 5.58% or R192.84 in mid-morning trade on the JSE, to R3,266.

“The funds will be used to reinforce Naspers’ 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 said.

Naspers said it has not previously sold any Tencent shares since it invested in 2001. “The company 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 added that it will not sell further Tencent shares for at least the next three years, in line with its long-term belief in Tencent’s business.

Bloomberg meanwhile reported on Thursday that Tencent lost more than $26 billion of market capitalisation after Asia’s most valuable company warned it will sacrifice short-term margins, spending on content and technology in pursuit of growth.

Its shares slid 5% in Hong Kong – the biggest fall in over a month – shaving some of the gains that ranked it among the world’s best performers over the past decade, Bloomberg said.

The Shenzhen-based company plans to keep spending on areas from artificial intelligence to video that it says may weigh on short-term profitability but anchor long-term growth.

The internet giant reported net income almost doubled to 20.8 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) in the three months ended December, beating projections.

Naspers brands include Delivery Hero, Flipkart, ibibo, iFood, Media24, Movile, MultiChoice, OLX, PayU, and Showmax.

Read: Investec report causing us and shareholders significant damage: Naspers

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Naspers to reduce its stake in Tencent