Naspers plans to sell up to 190 million Tencent shares

Cape Town - Naspers announced on Thursday that it intends to sell up to 190 million shares in Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, or about 2% of Tencent’s total issued share capital.

Once completed, the sale will reduce Naspers' stake from 33.2% to 31.2%.

"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 in shareholder announcement. 

Tencent shares were trading at 439.40 Hong Kong dollars at noon South African time on Thursday. At current exchange rates and share prices, the sale of 190 million shares would amount to R126bn.  

Since investing in Tencent in 2001, Naspers has not sold any of its shares.

"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," Naspers said. 

The shares will be offered to institutional investors globally, subject to customary selling restrictions. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have been appointed joint global-coordinators and joint book-runners. 

Shares in JSE-listed Naspers [JSE:NPN] had declined 5.1% on Thursday shortly before noon. After opening at R3 339.50, Naspers shares were trading at R3 282.50 at 11:52.

*Fin24 is part of 24.com, a division of Media24, which is a subsidiary of Naspers.

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