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Tesla Inc. Stock Rises After Tencent Reveals 5% Stake

By Daniel Sparks - Mar 28, 2017 at 11:03AM

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Here's what investors should know about this major Chinese company's new 5% stake in Tesla.

Tesla (TSLA 4.53%) stock, adding to its more than 11% jump in the past five days, is up about 3% Tuesday morning. Today's rise follows a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealing a new 5% stake in the electric-car maker by Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings (TCEHY 2.46%).

Tencent's 5% stake in Tesla

In a 13G filing with the SEC on Tuesday, Tencent and Tesla revealed the former now has a 5% stake in Tesla, owning about 8.2 million shares of the company.

Tesla's Model S and Model X vehicles

Tesla vehicles. Image source: Author

Tencent paid about $1.8 billion for the shares, including commissions, the filing said. But the total position is already worth about $2.3 billion as of Tesla's stock price on Tuesday. Tencent provided a statement about the position to Bloomberg:

Elon Musk is the archetype for entrepreneurship, combining vision, ambition, and execution. Tesla is a global pioneer at the forefront of new technologies including electric vehicles, assisted driving, shared vehicles, digitizing real-world information, sustainable energy generation and scalable energy storage.

The large position in Tesla makes Tencent Tesla's fifth-largest shareholder.

What does Tencent do?

Tencent is primarily known for its popular messaging app, WeChat, and its significant share of mobile game sales in China.

Launched in 2011, Tencent's WeChat boasts an impressive 889 million monthly active users, making it the No. 1 smartphone community in China. Notably, the platform is still growing rapidly. Its 889 million monthly active users were up 28% year over year in the company's most recent quarter. And Tencent is replicating its success with its instant messaging service QQ, which has garnered 652 million monthly active users on mobile and 868 million when including PCs.

In addition, with the help of its social networking reach, Tencent maintains a dominant position in gaming distribution, making it China's biggest gaming company.

Tencent has also recently invested aggressively in mobile payments and cloud services, opening the door to new monetization streams.

Tesla's interior, with its 17-inch touch display

Tesla vehicle. Image source: Author.

Interestingly, Tencent has recently been stepping up its investment in artificial intelligence (AI), building a team of more than 250 people to work on it. Possibly serving as one of the reasons for Tencent's investment in Tesla, Tencent CEO Ma Huateng recently said the company was interested in exploring AI technology as it relates to driverless cars. Tesla is arguably pursuing driverless cars more aggressively than any other company in the world. As of October last year, Tesla started including the hardware necessary for autonomous driving in every vehicle it makes. The company also plans to include similar hardware in its upcoming lower-cost, higher-volume Model 3.

While Tencent's 5% stake doesn't impact Tesla's intrinsic value, it does highlight a key vote of confidence in Tesla by a major company in China with an excellent track record of execution and investment.

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Stocks Mentioned

Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
$737.12 (4.53%) $31.91
Tencent Holdings Limited Stock Quote
Tencent Holdings Limited
$49.18 (2.46%) $1.18

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