London/Hong Kong — Tencent Holdings, the creator of the messaging platform WeChat, is in talks with banks for a $6bn loan, according to people familiar with the matter.

That would be the biggest dollar loan syndicated in Asia for a Chinese firm since 2019, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It would also mark a flurry of potential debt financing by tech giants after people familiar with the matter said earlier this month that rival Alibaba Group Holding is looking to sell up to $8bn of bonds.

Under the terms being discussed, Tencent’s five-year deal would pay an interest margin of 80 basis points over Libor and offer all-in pricing of 85 basis points, the people said, asking not to be identified as they aren’t authorised to speak publicly.

The proceeds are for general corporate purposes, they said. 

Naspers has a 31.2% stake in Tencent through its international internet arm Prosus.

In recent years, Tencent has spent billions of dollars buying stakes in promising start-ups, extending its reach in areas from social media to grocery delivery. It agreed in December to buy an additional 10% of Universal Music Group. Other people familiar with the matter also said on Friday that Tencent has got a €1.3bn loan for that deal.

In addition, the company is locked in a fierce battle for users and advertisers against nemesis ByteDance, which runs TikTok. The WeChat operator is also pushing its gaming portfolios internationally, with hits such as Call of Duty Mobile.

A representative with Tencent declined to comment.



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