Prosus raises $14.7 billion from Tencent sale in world's largest block trade: sources

By: Scott Murdoch and Toby Sterling Reuters
07:21 04/07/2021

By Scott Murdoch and Toby Sterling

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Dutch based technology investor Prosus NT has sold a 2% stake in Chinese tech giant Tencent at HK$595 per share to raise $14.7 billion in the world's largest blocktrade, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The sources could not be named as the information had not yet been made public.

Prosus and Tencent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prosus, majority controlled by Naspers Ltd sold 191.8 million shares in Tencent to take its stake from 30.9% to 28.9%, according to a statement from Prosus.

The stock sale had been flagged at HK$575 to $HK595 per share and the initial guidance to investors was set at HK$585 before it was raised to the top of the range, according to one source.

At $HK595 per share, the price was a 5.5% discount to Tencent's closing price in Hong Kong trading Wednesday of $HK629.50. Tencent's shares are trading 10% higher so far in 2021.

"The proceeds of the sale will increase our financial flexibility, enabling us to invest in the significant growth potential we see across the group, as well as in our own stock," CEO Bob van Dijk said in a statement Wednesday.

The sale looks set to be the largest block trade on record, based on Refinitiv data.

In addition to its Tencent stake, Prosus owns or invests in online food delivery platforms, classified marketplaces and digital payments businesses.

For the half-year ended Sept. 30, Prosus reported a 29% increase in core earnings to $2.2 billion, as proceeds from Tencent offset losses at its other online businesses.

"We expect the news to viewed cautiously until there is more clarity on how the funds will be redeployed," said analysts from Renaissance Capital in a note.

The analysts said they did not expect the sale would lead to any short term reduction in the gap between Prosus's own market value of 160 billion euros ($189.92 billion) and the market value of its stake in Tencent, worth 200 billion euros as of Wednesday.

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were the joint global coordinators of the stake sale.

The largest previous block trade on record was also a sale of 2% of Tencent shares, then held by Naspers, for $9.8 billion in 2018, Refinitiv data showed.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Abhinav Ramnarayan in London and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Jane Merriman and Christopher Cushing)

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