Tesla sells US$1.8bn stake to China’s Tencent

The Chinese internet juggernaut has bought a 5 per cent stake in the electric car maker owned by Elon Musk as it looks to develop artificial intelligence for robot cars.

Tencent has bought into Tesla as the US firm looks to bring its cheaper Model 3 electric car to market.  Courtesy : Tesla
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The Chinese internet major Tencent has purchased a 5 per cent stake in Tesla as the electric-car maker run by Elon Musk races to bring his critical Model 3 sedan to market later this year.

Shenzhen-based Tencent paid about US$1.8 billion for 8.17 million shares through Tesla’s recent stock offering and via open-market purchases, according to a regulatory filing late on Tuesday. The acquisition makes Tencent, the owner of the WeChat messaging app, Tesla’s fifth-largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Elon Musk is the archetype for entrepreneurship, combining vision, ambition, and execution,” Tencent said. “Tesla is a global pioneer at the forefront of new technologies including electric vehicles, assisted driving, shared vehicles, digitising real-world information, sustainable energy generation and scalable energy storage.”

Tesla raised as much as $1.4bn through a stock and debt offering this month, more than initially sought, as it looked to cushion its balance sheet amid heavy spending to introduce the lower-priced Model 3. Tencent’s chairman Ma Huateng envisions his company developing AI technology for driverless cars in the future.

* Bloomberg

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