Naspers to sell some Tencent shares

Johannesburg, 22 Mar 2018
Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk.

Naspers has announced its intention to sell up to 190 million Tencent shares; equal to approximately 2% of Tencent's issued share capital, reducing its stake from 33.2% to 31.2%.

In a statement, CEO Bob van Dijk says the funds will be used to reinforce Naspers' balance sheet and will be invested over time to accelerate the growth of its classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally and to pursue other growth opportunities when they arise.

Naspers also noted its commitment not to sell any further Tencent shares for at least three years, adding that the company has not previously sold any Tencent shares since it invested in 2001.

Naspers chair Koos Bekker added: "We believe Tencent is one of the very best growth enterprises in any industry in the world, managed by an exceptionally able team. However, we also want to fund the further development of some of Naspers' core business lines. We want to consolidate some market positions, accelerate growth, and bring a few businesses to self-funding status faster with additional support.

"We have informed Tencent of our intention to sell, which is understood and supported by Tencent. We have no intention to sell any more shares and have publicly stated that we will not sell further Tencent shares for at least the next three years, in line with our long-term belief in their business. "
According to the statement, Tencent sale 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 to manage the transaction.

Naspers is Africa's biggest company by market value, while Tencent is China's biggest gaming and social media firm by revenue.