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Tencent's billionaire founder sells US$414m in shares

[HONG KONG] Tencent Holdings Ltd Chief Executive Officer Ma Huateng raised HK$3.2 billion (US$414 million) selling portions of his shareholdings in China's largest Internet company this month.

Mr Ma sold a combined 23.85 million shares in four transactions between Sept 17 and Sept 22 at prices ranging from HK$133.365 to HK$135.495 apiece, according to a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. That reduced Mr Ma's stake in Tencent to 9.37 per cent from 9.62 per cent.

Mr Ma, China's third-richest man with a net worth of US$16.8 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, built Tencent from a desktop-messaging service into China's biggest Internet corporation by market value. The Shenzhen-based company's businesses span social media, online commerce and gaming.

Its WeChat mobile application counts more than 600 million monthly active users and competes with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in online retail, financial services and media and entertainment.

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Shares in Tencent closed 1.1 per cent lower at HK$130.90 on Wednesday, curbing its gain to 16 per cent this year. Mr Ma has sold off stock at irregular intervals since 2005 and remains the company's largest individual stockholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.