Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent will distribute most of its JD.com stake worth HK$127.69 billion ($16.37 billion) to its shareholders as a dividend, no longer remaining the e-commerce firm’s top shareholder.
Tencent said on Thursday it was the right time to transfer its stake given that JD.com has reached a stage it can self-finance its own growth. The owner of WeChat will see its stake fall to 2.3% from around 17%.
“The company and JD.com will continue to maintain their mutually beneficial business relationship, including via their ongoing strategic partnership agreement,” Tencent said in a statement.
Martin Lau, executive director and president of Tencent, will step down as a director of JD.com with effect from December 23.
Walmart To Be Largest Shareholder
JD.com, in a separate announcement, said it would continue to work with Tencent, including on their strategic partnership agreement.
Eligible Tencent shareholders will be entitled to one share of JD.com for every 21 shares they hold and in total Tencent will distribute 457.3 million shares.
“The win-win relationship between Tencent and JD is not affected, as JD is still an important component of Tencent’s ecosystem,” said Thomas Chong, equity analyst at Jefferies.
After the transfer, Walmart will become JD.com’s largest shareholder, according to Refinitiv ownership data.
Tencent and JD.com referred Reuters to their announcements when asked for a comment.
Shares of JD.com fell 6.4% in Hong Kong trading early on Thursday, while Tencent rose 2.5%. Meituan, the food delivery giant backed by Tencent, fell 2.6%.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard.