September 13, 2019 / 1:44 PM / 4 days ago

Tencent bids for Chinese car site Bitauto with JD's backing

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Tencent is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

(Reuters) - Tencent Holdings Ltd and private equity partner Hammer Capital have offered $16 per share to buy out the other shareholders in Chinese car comparison website Bitauto Holdings Ltd, valuing the company at just under $1.2 billion.

The offer from the Chinese e-commerce giant came at a premium of 16.4% to Bitauto’s Thursday close and is backed by shareholders that own more than 48.5% of the company, including JD.com Inc.

Tencent owns a 7.81% stake in the company.

The buyout offer is the latest sign of the Chinese tech giant’s determination to plough ahead with further expansion at a time when the Chinese economy is slowing and it is rich with the profits of a decade-long economic boom.

It also follows a report last month that the company was in talks to purchase a 20% stake in Universal Music Group, home to the Beatles, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.

Tencent owns China’s hugely popular WeChat social network and is also the world’s biggest videogame maker, helped by its ownership of Blue Hole Inc, producer of popular global battle royale game PUBG.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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