Tencent's offices. Photo: Chris Yunker

  • It will sell up to 190 million shares in Chinese company Tencent, Naspers told shareholders on Thursday.
  • That represents 2% of Tencent – at a value of around R125 billion.
  • Naspers has never sold Tencent shares since it first invested in the company since 2001.
  • At current prices Naspers could use the money to buy Capitec – and still have just enough left over to buy Telkom too.

Naspers will sell shares in Tencent that could be worth around R125 billion.

It will offer as many as 190 million shares in Tencent to institutional investors, Naspers announced on Thursday morning.

That represents only around 2% of Tencent shares – but the company as a whole is valued at more than $545 billion.

"The funds will be used to reinforce Naspers’ balance sheet and will be invested over time to accelerate the growth of our classifieds, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally and to pursue other exciting growth opportunities when they arise," Naspers said in its statement.

Naspers owns a variety of online businesses across 120 countries.

See also: Naspers’ ‘Tencent problem’ just got bigger – and could be trouble for the JSE as a whole

With the money it will raise from selling the shares, Naspers could buy the Capitec banking group in cash – and still have just about enough money left over to just about buy all of Telkom too.

Naspers has been under a great deal of pressure to deal with the significant discount between its share price and the value of its Tencent holding.

Naspers said it would not sell any further shares for at least the next three years, and that Tencent supported its plan.

It "considers Tencent to be one of the very best growth enterprises in any industry in the world, managed by an exceptionally able team", Naspers said.

At the end of the sale Naspers would still own 31.2% of Tencent.

Naspers shares fell sharply on the news.

Business Insider South Africa operates as part of Media24, which is owned by Naspers.

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