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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 February 2021

Tencent raises $8.3 billion with its biggest ever loan

The Chinese firm is now nearing the $1tn benchmark in market value, after gaining roughly $200bn this year

Tencent is fast evolving beyond a social media and gaming behemoth over the past decade. Reuters
Tencent is fast evolving beyond a social media and gaming behemoth over the past decade. Reuters

Tencent, the creator of the messaging platform WeChat, has raised $8.3 billion in the biggest offshore syndicated loan in Asia for a Chinese firm since 2016.

Twelve banks joined the Tencent financing deal, which initially had a $6bn size, according to people familiar with the matter.

The loan will be used for general corporate purposes, the people said, asking not to be identified as they are not authorised to speak publicly.

Representatives for Tencent didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tencent is fast evolving beyond a social media and gaming behemoth over the past decade and has poured billions of dollars snapping up stakes in promising start-ups, widening its reach in areas from social media to grocery delivery. It received a $1.6bn loan last month to back its purchase of more shares in Universal Music Group International.

The deal comes amid a flurry of debt financings by tech giants, with Alibaba Group issuing $5bn of bonds in early February and Chinese internet search engine giant Baidu seeking what would be potentially its largest syndicated loan.

The latest loan is the largest foreign currency syndicated deal for a Chinese firm in Asia since 2016, when China National Chemical raised $12.7bn, according to Bloomberg data.

WeChat is the payment and smartphone backbone underpinning Tencent’s transformation. The platform has become intrinsic to the daily lives of one billion Chinese for everything from booking rides to buying groceries. Its new TikTok-style video feed also boosted investor’s confidence that the app will stay relevant in China’s social media landscape.

While regulators have launched a probe into rival Alibaba and demanded overhauls of the Ant Group financial empire it backs, Beijing has yet to directly address Tencent’s online entertainment juggernaut in its combat against alleged monopolies on the internet.

That helped Tencent’s stock soon recover after an initial sell-off in November, when China’s anti-trust watchdog unveiled its new regulatory framework over the country’s internet sector.

Tencent is now nearing the $1 trillion benchmark in market value, after gaining roughly $200bn this year.

Updated: February 19, 2021 05:31 PM

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