Prosus sells 2% of Tencent for $14.7 billion in world's largest block trade

(Reuters) -Holland-based technology investor Prosus NV has sold 2% of Tencent Holdings Ltd 0700.HK for $14.7 billion, the Chinese gaming and social media giant said on Thursday, in the world's largest-ever block trade.

FILE PHOTO: A Tencent logo is seen at its booth at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

Tencent, in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing, said Prosus sold 191.89 million shares for HK$114.1 billion ($14.67 billion), reducing its stake to 28.9%.

That works out as HK$595 per share, confirming Reuters’ earlier report in which sources said Prosus sold the stock at the top of an indicative range of HK$575 to $HK595.

The price was a 5.5% discount to Tencent’s Wednesday close of $HK629.50. The stock, which is up 10% so far this year, opened down 2.5% in Hong Kong following the news on Thursday.

Prosus, majority controlled by Naspers Ltd, did not respond to a request for comment on the pricing.

The block trade - or the usually private, single trade of a large amount of securities - surpassed the previous record set in 2018 when Naspers also sold 2% of Tencent for $9.8 billion, Refinitiv data showed.

“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,” Prosus Chief Executive Bob van Dijk said in a statement.

Prosus also invests in online food delivery platforms, classified marketplaces and digital payments businesses.

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

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

The sale is unlikely to lead to any short-term reduction in the gap between the market value of Prosus at 160 billion euros ($189.92 billion) and that of its Tencent stake at 200 billion euros as of Wednesday, the analysts said.

Citigroup Inc , Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc were joint global coordinators for the sale.

($1 = 0.8425 euros)

($1 = 7.7849 Hong Kong dollars)

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