Tencent Said in Talks for Syndicated Loan Up to $2 Billion

  • Separate from a $2.45 billion facility worked out last year
  • Billionaire Chairman Ma Huateng investing in startups

Tencent Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest Internet company, is speaking with banks about getting a syndicated loan of as much as $2 billion as it expands operations and pushes ahead with acquisitions, people familiar with the matter said.

The Chinese firm, which operates the WeChat and QQ instant message systems, is seeking a five-year facility of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. The financing is separate from a five-year loan of $2.45 billion it worked out with banks last year, the people said.

Tencent’s billionaire Chairman Ma Huateng is building WeChat into an all-purpose platform for e-commerce and is investing billions of dollars in startups providing services from food delivery to movie ticketing. China’s Internet giants are providing a haven for investors fleeing mounting default risks among state-owned enterprises. Baidu Inc., owner of China’s biggest search engine, is seeking a $1 billion loan, it said earlier this week.

Tencent spokeswoman Canny Lo declined to comment.

Billion-Plus Users

Tencent, which got its start with desktop instant messaging and gaming, has in recent years come to dominate social media and mobile messaging in China with a combined billion-plus users for its WeChat and QQ services.

The firm, based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, is expected to start inviting more banks to participate in the loan as early as next week, the people said. The mandate for the facility will involve five or six banks, according to the people.

It comes after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the nation’s biggest e-commerce company, started to syndicate a loan of as much as $4 billion last month, separate people said at the time.

— With assistance by Jacqueline Poh, and Steven Yang

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