China's Tencent invests 4.2 bln yuan for stake in Yonghui Superstores

BEIJING, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd plans to invest 4.2 billion yuan ($636 million) in a 5 percent stake in Yonghui Superstores Co Ltd , the supermarket chain operator said on Friday.

Tencent aims to acquire a combined 478.5 million shares at 8.81 yuan per share from Yonghui’s two owners via its affiliate Linzhi Tencent Technology, Yonghui said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.

The price of 8.81 yuan a share is a discount to its last closing price of 9.78 yuan on Dec. 8, when the stock surged by its maximum 10 percent daily limit. Trading in its shares halted thereafter, and will resume on Dec 18.

The filing provided more details of Tencent’s investment, which had been outlined by Yonghui Superstores in a stock market filing on Dec. 11.

The move by Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, is seen as its latest push into bricks-and-mortar retail to further compete with its rival Alibaba.

Yonghui has close to 600 superstores covering more than half of China’s provinces. Its net profit in the January-September period was 1.4 billion yuan, exceeding the total profit for the whole of last year. ($1 = 6.6075 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Zhang Min in Beijing and Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Adrian Croft)