No plan to sell the Ten­cent stake

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES -

NASPERS does not plan to spin off its $114 billion (R1.47 tril­lion) stake in Ten­cent, its boss said yes­ter­day, a push back against in­vestors urg­ing a break-up to close a widen­ing dis­count be­tween its mar­ket value and that of its one-third stake in the Chi­nese in­ter­net com­pany. Founded in 1915, Naspers has trans­formed it­self from an apartheid-era news­pa­per pub­lisher into an $85bn multi­na­tional with pri­vate eq­uity-style in­vest­ments in e-com­merce plat­forms such as auction sites, on­line re­tail and e-clas­si­fieds. But it owes much of that val­u­a­tion to its 33 per­cent Ten­cent stake, which is worth about $114bn, or 20 per­cent more than Naspers it­self. The dis­count has prompted some in­vestors to urge chief ex­ec­u­tive Bob van Dijk to find ways to nar­row it. “From the mo­ment Ten­cent was listed on the Hong Kong stock ex­change, some had been ask­ing us to do that. You can imag­ine how unhappy share­hold­ers would be if I had done that 10 years ago,” Van Dijk said. The value of Naspers’ stake surged from around $231 mil­lion to around $114bn in 2004 when Ten­cent floated on the Hong Kong stock ex­change. Ten­cent, which runs China’s big­gest gam­ing and so­cial me­dia firm, shot past fore­casts to post its high­est quar­terly profit in more than two years last month. It is among the firms best placed to ben­e­fit from the roll out of faster 4G mo­bile net­work in China be­cause it uses its in­stant mes­sag­ing plat­form WeChat – a so­cial me­dia fab­ric in China – to sell other ser­vices such a mu­sic and video stream­ing. – Reuters

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