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.
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