March 23, 2018 / 7:34 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Naspers raises $9.8 bln from Tencent stake sale

(Adds share price reaction)

JOHANNESBURG, March 23 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Naspers has raised $9.8 billion from the sale of a 2 percent stake in Chinese investment Tencent to strengthen its balance sheet and fund growth in its e-commerce businesses, it said on Friday.

Naspers said on Thursday it had no plans to reduce its holding further for the next three years, disappointing some investors who had called for it to spin off its 33 percent stake in China’s biggest internet firm to close the widening gap between its own market value and the investment.

Shares in Naspers were down 4.45 percent at 3,153 rand at the market open, while Tencent’s stock were down 4.51 percent, wiping $24 billion off its market value.

Naspers said it sold 190 million shares in Tencent via an accelerated bookbuilding process, reducing its holdings to 31.2 percent, to strengthen its finances and invest over time in its classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally.

The sale was priced at HK$405 per share, a discount of 7.8 percent to Tencent’s closing price on Thursday. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by Mark Potter)

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