Chinese gaming and social media company Tencent will hand a $16.4 billion JD.com stake as a dividend to its shareholders, weakening its ties to the e-commerce firm and raising questions about its plans for other holdings.
Tencent (TCEHY) plans to distribute more than $16 billion worth of its stake in JD.com (JD) to its shareholders as a one-time dividend, the Chinese gaming and social media giant said Thursday in a stock exchange filing. The 457 million shares that Tencent plans to give out represent 86.4% of its stake at JD.com, or 14.7% of JD.com's total issued shares.
"This seems to be a continuation of the concept of bringing down the walled gardens and increasing competition among the tech giants by weakening partnerships, exclusivity and other arrangements which weaken competitive pressures," Mio Kato, a LightStream Research analyst who publishes on Smartkarma said of the JD.com stake transfer.
The companies said they would continue to have a business relationship, including an ongoing strategic partnership agreement, though Tencent Executive Director and President Martin Lau will step down from JD.com’s board immediately.
Eligible Tencent shareholders will be entitled to one share of JD.com for every 21 shares they hold.
In its filing, Tencent said that JD.com has reached a status where it can finance its own growth.
It is, therefore, "an appropriate time" to transfer the majority of the stake to its shareholders, Tencent said.
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