--Prosus plans to cut stake in Chinese tech giant to 28.9% from 30.9%

--Move by Dutch internet conglomerate allows it to pursue fresh investments, buy own stock

--Prosus has committed not to sell further Tencent shares for at least three years


By Adria Calatayud


Prosus NV said Wednesday that it plans to cut its stake in Tencent Holdings Ltd. to 28.9% from 30.9%, selling shares worth $15.50 billion.

The Dutch internet conglomerate, a subsidiary of South Africa's Naspers Ltd., said it intends to sell up to 191.9 million shares in Tencent. Naspers was one of the Chinese tech giant's earliest investors.

Tencent shares fell 3.8% to 629.5 Hong Kong dollars ($80.95) on Wednesday. Based on Tencent's closing price, the share sale would be worth $15.53 billion.

Prosus said the parcel of Tencent shares will be offered to institutional investors globally, with books expected to close prior to the Hong Kong market opening.

Prosus said Tencent understands and supports its intention.

The company said its commitment to Tencent remains steadfast, but that the sale of a small portion of its shareholding will allow it to fund continued growth in online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, education and e-commerce, as well as allow for complementary acquisitions.

"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. The company has committed not to sell any further Tencent shares for at least the next three years, it said.

The move comes shortly after the expiry of a lock-up agreement following a similar share sale by Naspers in March 2018, which landed it close to $10 billion. At the time, Naspers reduced its stake in the Chinese company to 31.2% from 33.2%.


Write to Adria Calatayud at adria.calatayud@dowjones.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 07, 2021 05:55 ET (09:55 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.