Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings is reportedly considering a $3 billion (£2.27 billion) bid for a 10 per cent stake in health and beauty retail giant AS Watson.
According to Bloomberg Tencent, which is thought to be worth more than Facebook and already holds stakes in companies like Spotify, Snapchat and Tesla, is poised to make an offer a for just under half of Temasek Holding’s 25 per cent stake in AS Watson.
AS Watson, which owns retailers Superdrug, Savers and The Perfume Shop here in the UK and boasts 15,000 stores in 25 markets worldwide, is currently part of Hong Kong tycoon Victor Li’s CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.
It is understood that Temasek is working with advisors to consider its options regarding its 25 per cent stake in the retail group, and has invited potential buyers including Alibaba to management presentations this month.
Though few in the West are familiar with Tencent, it is a dominant force in the Chinese market, owning the country’s largest messaging service WeChat, its largest streaming service Tencent Video, and its largest music streaming service Tencent music which dwarfs both Spotify and Apple music.
In 2014 Tencent was all set to purchase Whatsapp, but when the deal was delayed so its chief executive Ma Huateng could undergo back surgery, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg caught wind of the deal and offered a rival bid for over twice Ma’s offer.