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Tencent said in talks for syndicated loan of up to US$2b

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Tencent Holdings Ltd, Asia's biggest Internet company, is speaking with banks about getting a syndicated loan of as much as US$2 billion as it expands operations and pushes ahead with acquisitions, people familiar with the matter said.

[BEIJING] Tencent Holdings Ltd, Asia's biggest Internet company, is speaking with banks about getting a syndicated loan of as much as US$2 billion as it expands operations and pushes ahead with acquisitions, people familiar with the matter said.

The Chinese firm, which operates the WeChat and QQ instant message systems, is seeking a five-year facility of US$1.5 billion to US$2 billion, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

The financing is separate from a five-year loan of US$2.45 billion it worked out with banks last year, the people said.

Tencent's billionaire Chairman Ma Huateng is building WeChat into an all-purpose platform for e-commerce and is investing billions of dollars in startups providing services from food delivery to movie ticketing.

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China's Internet giants are providing a haven for investors fleeing mounting default risks among state-owned enterprises.

Baidu Inc, owner of China's biggest search engine, is seeking a US$1 billion loan, it said earlier this week.

Tencent spokeswoman Canny Lo declined to comment.

The firm, based in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, is expected to start inviting more banks to participate in the loan as early as next week, the people said. The mandate for the facility will involve five or six banks, according to the people.

It comes after Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the nation's biggest e-commerce company, started to syndicate a loan of as much as US$4 billion last month, separate people said at the time.

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