Chinese internet giant Tencent is planning to give the majority of its $16.37 billion stake in JD.com to its shareholders as a dividend, reports Reuters. The move would mean that Tencent is no longer the e-commerce firm’s top shareholder. Eligible Tencent shareholders will be entitled to one share of JD.com for every 21 shares they hold and in total Tencent will distribute 457.3 million shares.
Tencent said on Thursday it was the right time to transfer its stake given that JD.com has reached a stage it can self-finance its own growth. The owner of WeChat will see its stake fall to 2.3% from around 17%.
Martin Lau, executive director and president of Tencent, will step down as a director of JD.com with effect from December 23. JD.com, in a separate announcement, said it would continue to work with Tencent, including on their strategic partnership agreement. After the transfer, Walmart will become JD.com’s largest shareholder, according to Refinitiv ownership data.