The icons for Tencent Holdings Ltd. applications including WeChat, from left, QQ, JOOX and Tencent News are arranged for a photograph on a smartphone taken in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg)

Tencent to Buy 5% Stake in Supermarket Firm for $639 Million

(Bloomberg) -- Tencent Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy a 5 percent stake in China’s Yonghui Superstores Co. for about 4.22 billion yuan ($639 million), joining rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in teaming up with a bricks-and-mortar retailer.

Shenzhen-based Tencent is buying about 478.5 million shares from existing shareholders at 8.81 yuan apiece, Yonghui said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.

The price is a 9.9 percent discount to Fuzhou, China-based Yonghui’s last price of 9.78 yuan, before trading was halted on Dec. 8. Yonghui, which operates supermarket franchises and has more than 580 stores in China, plans to resume trading on Dec. 18, according to the filing.

The tie-up between tech behemoth Tencent and Yonghui follows Alibaba’s $2.9 billion purchase of a stake in Chinese grocery retailer Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. in November. China’s biggest e-commerce company agreed last month to buy 36 percent of Sun Art, which operates about 400 hypermarkets under the Auchan and RT-Mart banners across the country.

Yonghui is China’s fourth-biggest hypermarket operator by market share, and already has a tech-industry investor in Inc., according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.