Didi shares drop after Tencent said it did not buy new shares

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Shares of Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi fell in pre-market trade in the US Friday after Tencent clarified that it did not increase its stake in the company.

A regulatory filing on Thursday appeared to show that Tencent added around 1.78 million Didi Class A Ordinary shares at the end of last year, bringing its stake in the ride-hailing form to 7.4%.

But a company spokesperson told CNBC Friday that these were shares Tencent already had that were previously undisclosed and that it had not bought any more Didi stock.

After an initial report on Thursday said that Tencent had increased its stake in Didi, the ride-hailing firm’s stock popped more than 8%. However, after Tencent clarified its position on Friday, Didi’s stock fell in pre-market trade in the US

Didi is a politically charged company at the moment, having reportedly gone ahead with a US listing despite concerns from regulators. Days after its IPO, China’s cyberspace regulator opened a cybersecurity review into the tech firm. Didi’s shares have lost nearly 70% of their value from their IPO price.

In December, Didi said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and make plans to go public in Hong Kong instead.

Tencent has been more circumspect about its investments recently and has looked to pair back stakes in companies rather than increase them. Last month, Tencent cut its stake in Singapore-based gaming and e-commerce firm Sea, and in December, the internet giant said it would give most of its shares in online retailer JD.com away to shareholders. Tencent is a prolific investor in companies across the world and in China.

Those moves came after months of regulatory tightening in China in which Beijing issued new anti-monopoly rules and introduced regulations in areas from data protection to the governing of algorithms.

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