(Bloomberg) — Shares of Tencent Holdings Ltd. dropped in Hong Kong after Prosus NV priced its placement of the Chinese internet giant’s stock at the top end of a marketed range, raising HK$114.2 billion ($14.7 billion).
Tencent dropped 2.5% in pre-market trading. Amsterdam-listed Prosus priced the deal at HK$595 per share, which represents a 5.5% discount to Tencent’s last close of HK$629.50, according to terms of the deal obtained by Bloomberg News. The selldown is the world’s second-biggest block trade on record, after a $20.7 billion sale of American International Group Inc. shares in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The e-commerce group is selling a 2% stake in Tencent, reducing its holding to just under 29% while remaining the biggest shareholder of the Chinese firm, it said in a statement earlier Wednesday. It was marketing 191.89 million Tencent shares at HK$575 to HK$595 apiece.
The deal will more than quadruple Prosus’s cash reserves from $4.6 billion as of the end of September. It helps to boost Prosus’s coffers at a time when e-commerce is booming, with the coronavirus pandemic increasing online demand for everything from shopping and food delivery to education. Prosus already has assets in those sectors alongside the likes of payment services, and has long been on the hunt for further acquisitions.
“The group has some really interesting investments in India’s e-commerce space, so perhaps that is where some of the capital will go,” said Nick Kunze, a senior portfolio manager at Sanlam Private Wealth. “They now have the war chest to implement on the opportunities.”
The fundraising may also give Prosus another shot at securing a mega deal, having missed out on two high-profile takeovers over the last 18 months. The company lost an $8 billion battle to buy U.K. food group Just Eat Plc to Takeaway.com at the start of last year, and in July was beaten in a $9 billion auction for EBay Inc.’s classifieds business by Norwegian rival Adevinta ASA.
Prosus shares were down 4.6% at the close Wednesday in Amsterdam. The company is cashing on one of the all-time great venture-capital deals. Naspers Ltd., the company’s Cape-Town-based parent, invested just $32 million in Tencent in 2001, when it was an obscure internet firm. The shares are now worth about $239 billion.
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While the decision has made Naspers the most valuable company in Africa, its market capitalization of about $105 billion lags well behind the value of the Tencent holding. The creation of Prosus was partly designed to narrow that discount, but the Amsterdam-based company too is dwarfed by the size of the stake in the WeChat creator.
In 2018, a surprise sale of stake by Naspers had contributed to a loss of more than 9% in Tencent’s shares over two days, wiping out $48 billion in market value.
Prosus has committed not to sell any further Tencent shares for at least the next three years, the company said. Naspers sold a similar size stake in 2018, a year before spinning off the shareholding and most of its other businesses into what is now Prosus.
(Recasts to lead with share move.)
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