Tencent Buys Back More Shares to Offset Sales by Top Investor Naspers
Zheng Xutong
DATE:  Apr 10 2024
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Tencent Buys Back More Shares to Offset Sales by Top Investor Naspers Tencent Buys Back More Shares to Offset Sales by Top Investor Naspers

(Yicai) April 10 -- Tencent Holdings has repurchased more of its own shares in an effort to counteract sales by Naspers, the Chinese internet giant’s biggest investor.

Tencent bought back 3.28 million of its own shares for HKD1 billion (USD128 million) yesterday, the Shenzhen-based company said the same day. That came after buybacks totaling HKD14.8 billion (USD1.9 billion) in the first quarter.

Tencent expects to at least double its buying spree to over HKD100 billion (USD12.8 billion) this year, it said in an annual report published two days ago, after spending HKD49.43 billion for 152 million shares in 2023, more than it shelled out over the last decade. The firm has been buying back its own stock since 2021.

South African tech titan Naspers, an early investor in Tencent, sold 210 million shares of the WeChat owner last year, paring its stake to about 25 percent from 26.9 percent, the report showed. If calculated at HKD300 (USD38) a share, Naspers offloaded more than HKD60 billion (USD7.7 billion) of Tencent’s equity.

Tencent’s shares [HKG: 0700] fell almost 7 percent last year. Today, they ended 3 percent higher at HKD314.20 (USD40.12) each in Hong Kong, still almost 17 percent down on a year ago.

Naspers cut its holding in Tencent in 2018 and 2021. In April 2021, it announced the sale of as much as 2 percent of Tencent’s shares, taking its stake down to about 28.9 percent, and promised not sell any more within three years. But in June 2022, Naspers said it would continue to pare its holding.

Executive pay at Tencent fell for the first time in a decade last year, according to its annual report. Chairman Pony Ma earned CNY42.9 million (USD5.9 million), a 10 percent increase, while President Martin Lau received CNY52.5 million, 72 percent less, due to a decline in equity-based compensation.

Total remuneration for top managers sank 15 percent to CNY4.6 billion (USD636 million) in 2023 from the year before. It had risen to CNY5.3 billion from CNY259 million (USD733 million from USD35.8 million) in the decade before 2022.

Editor: Emmi Laine

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Keywords:   Tencent,Naspers,China,share buyback