[BEIJING] The chairman and chief executive of Tencent Holdings Ltd has cashed in shares worth HK$3 billion (US$509 million) in the Chinese internet firm this month, according to regulatory filings made with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
CEO Pony Ma, who co-founded Tencent in 1998 and helped turn it into one of the world's most influential internet firms, sold a total of 25 million shares between Dec 2 and Dec 5, at prices ranging between HK$118.61 and HK$119.97.
A Tencent spokesman said the sale was related to Mr Ma's "personal wealth management". Mr Ma himself was not immediately available to comment.
Local media had reported that Mr Ma recently bought into China's Ping An Insurance Group via a private share placement.
The placement raised a total of HK$36.5 billion and involved up to ten investors, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd executive chairman Jack Ma, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Tencent shares Ma sold accounted for less than 0.5 per cent of the company's outstanding stock. Even after the sale, Mr Ma remains Tencent's largest individual shareholder with a 9.87 per cent stake.
Mr Ma last sold Tencent shares in 2011, although on a smaller scale. The stock was trading about 1.9 per cent down in midday trade in Hong Kong, while the benchmark Hang Seng index was 0.23 percent lower.
Mr Ma, 43, was named China's third-richest person with an estimated US$14 billion fortune, according to Hurun Report, which compiles an annual list of China's wealthy.