Tencent Music, the music distribution arm of China’s social media giant, Tencent, is seeking an IPO by the end of the year, with a valuation of some $25 billion. That is only slightly lower than the $28 billion market capitalization of its frenemy Spotify.
Chinese financial sources reported this week that Tencent has begun a process of auditioning investment banks to handle a share listing that is likely to be on a U.S. stock exchange. The reports say that Tencent Music will aim to raise some $3 billion to $4 billion of fresh capital.
Following a share swap late last year, Spotify owns 9% of Tencent Music, and Tencent owns 7.5% of Spotify. That valuation ascribed a valuation of $13 million to Tencent Music. The Tencent parent company retains a 62% controlling stake in Tencent Music.
The company counts over 700 million monthly users, of which some 15 million may be paying subscribers. It operates a variety of apps allowing users to stream music, watch live performances and play karaoke, as well as a close connection to Tencent’s WeChat messaging platform, which has over 1 billion users.
In its current form, Tencent Music was established in 2016 after a merger with streaming rival China Music. Since then it has cemented its leadership position by adding to and renewing deals with international studio groups Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony Music. It also has deals with China’s Huayi Brothers Music and Korea’s YG Entertainment.