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Tencent’s Option To Buy 50% In MIH India Expired On 17th June 2013

Chinese major Tencent’s option for buying 50% (minus one share) in Naspers’ India business MIH India expired on 17th June 2013, and it is likely that Tencent has not exercised this option, choosing to remain a minority shareholder in the business, with non-controlling interest. At the time of filing this report, Naspers is yet to respond to a query we sent across last week, and on Thursday, and we’ll update in case we hear from Tencent India Head Rahul Razdan.

Over the years, Tencent has increased its holding in MIH India to 19.9%, the last acquisition of stake taking place during the financial year ending 31st March 2011. Tencent acquired 6% in December 2008, another 4% in March 2010, and 9.9% during the financial year ending 21st March 2011. In 2008, when Tencent had announced plans to invest $7.5 million investment in MIH India, apart from providing its products to the company.

It is unlikely that Tencent will increase its stake in the Indian businesses because the direction in which MIH India is going now is remarkably different from where it was when Tencent invested: Naspers, through MIH India, is focusing primarily on transaction led businesses in India, especially the travel businesses in GoIbibo, Redbus, as well as Tradus and PayU, while Tencent has always been led by social media, with messaging products like WeChat (launched last year in India), and content and communities, especially around the trading of virtual goods. At the time of investment, MIH India had social media properties like ibibo.com, onefamily.com, apart from dwaar.com, Newscola.com and bixee.com, and ad network AdWinks. Ibibo had launched Tencent products in India, including mail and messenger, a repurposed QQ browser, and games with virtual currencies.

We’ll update in case we hear that Tencent has exercised its options, however unlikely that is.

From the Naspers Annual Report:

“During the current year Tencent did not exercise any of its options in MIH India. At 31 March 2013, Tencent held a 19,9% interest in MIH India with the remaining 80,1% held by the group. The group has performed an assessment, as required by IAS 27 “Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements”, to determine whether the group would still exert control over MIH India in the event that the remaining option is exercised. The option to acquire an additional interest is exercisable until 17 June 2013, whereafter the option will lapse. Based on this assessment, if Tencent were to exercise its option in full, all decisions made by the board of directors would require approval by both the group and Tencent’s directors. As such, the group will exert joint control, as defined in IAS 31 “Interests in Joint Ventures”, over MIH India with Tencent. The group has proportionately consolidated its share of all assets, liabilities, income and expenses of MIH India. Should the option lapse, then MIH India will be consolidated from July 2013 with 19,9% recognised as noncontrolling interest”

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