Tencent Holdings Ltd. (TCEHY) plans to spin-off its online music streaming business in a separate listing in the U.S.
The Chinese social media and gaming giant announced its plan in a regulatory filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, adding that the proposed spin-off of Tencent Music, China’s biggest music-streaming company, has now received approval from local authorities.
Terms of the spin-off, including the offering size, price range and the number of Tencent Music shares to be offered to existing Tencent shareholders, have yet to be finalized. The company also confirmed that it still needs to get approval from relevant authorities and its board of directors before going ahead with its proposal.
Chinese media sources believe that Tencent Music will be valued at between $29 billion and $31 billion, reported Variety. In April, Reuters publication IFR, citing people familiar with the plans, said the company was seeking an initial public offering (IPO) worth up to $4 billion, which would have valued the shares at about $25 billion. (See also: Tencent Music Entertainment Group Eyes IPO.)
Tencent’s proposal to list its music streaming businesses indicates that the Chinese company is confident that the online music industry has returned to health, following years of piracy. A U.S. listing will make it easier for analysts and investors to compare Tencent Music with major competitors, including Apple Inc. (AAPL), Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL) and Spotify Technology S.A. (SPOT).
Spotify, which began trading on Nasdaq in April and is currently valued at just shy of $30 billion, looks set to profit from Tencent’s spin-off and IPO. The two companies took a stake in each other’s music streaming businesses in a joint equity investment deal in December. Spotify owns 9 percent of Tencent Music, while Tencent owns a 7.5 percent stake in its Swedish rival. (See also: Tencent Music, Spotify in Talks Ahead of IPOs.)
Tencent Music currently has more than 700 million monthly users, 15 million of which are believed to be paying subscribers. The company provides its users with a variety of apps, enabling them to stream music, watch live performances and play karaoke.
In November, Tencent raised $1.1 billion after spinning off its online publishing and e-book unit, China Literature, for a Hong Kong listing.