Tencent hands shareholders $16.4 bln windfall

China's Tencent will pay a $16.4 billion dividend to its stockholders by handing out most of its stake in JD.com.

The gaming and social media giant made the announcement Thursday (December 23).

The divestment would cut Tencent's holding in China's second-largest e-commerce firm to 2.3% - down from around 17%.

It would also lose its spot as JD.com's biggest shareholder to Walmart.

Both companies said they would continue to have a business relationship.

Though Tencent President Martin Lau will step down from JD.com's board immediately.

Tencent said now was the right for the divestment as the e-commerce firm can self-finance its growth.

The share divestment comes in the same year Chinese regulators have cracked down on the tech sector.

Authorities blocked Tencent's proposed $5.3 billion merger of the country's top two videogame streaming sites.

The company was also ordered to end exclusive music copyright agreements.

JD.com shares plunged 11% in early trade in Hong Kong Thursday, but partially recovered to close 7% down.

Shares of Tencent - Asia's most valuable listed company - rose 4%.

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