Prosus and Naspers deny report they are in talks to sell Tencent stake

TECHNOLOGY investment firm Prosus NV and its South African parent Naspers rejected as “untrue” a report that they are in talks to sell their large stake in Chinese software and gaming giant Tencent.

In a pre-market statement, Amsterdam-based Prosus said an article in Asian Tech Press citing unnamed sources saying that Naspers was in talks with a group of investors led by state-backed CITIC of China to sell its entire Tencent stake was “speculative and untrue”.

Prosus holds a 28% stake in Tencent worth $70 billion at current prices. It has said it intends to sell the stake down gradually to fund a share repurchase program.

“The Naspers Board and Prosus Board reiterate their continued confidence in Tencent’s long-term prospects and continue to believe that the share repurchase programme is in the best interests of Prosus, Naspers and their respective shareholders,” they said in a statement.

Tencent shares rose sharply on Friday, gaining 10% to $226.2 HKD. Naspers shares, which usually follow movements in Tencent, rose 8.7% in Johannesburg. The Amsterdam exchange was not yet open.

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