China’s biggest streaming service are finally gearing up for their long-awaited IPO this week, but one of their investors are unhappy with the media giants and taking legal action.
Tencent Music Entertainment have been discussing an IPO for a majority of 2018 after Spotify so successfully placed themselves on the New York Stock Exchange. After months of delays due to uncertainty on global stocks Tencent have finally set the date for their Initial Public Offering as December 12th. Now just days away the Chinese media giant is being sued by one of their own investors.
Last Week Tencent’s co-president Guomin Xie Guo was accused of using misinformation, threats and intimidation to acquire equity stakes in a rival music service. Chinese investor Hanwei Guo claims that Guomin compelled him to sell his equity stakes in Ocean Music which then became part of Tencent’s own QQ Music service after a merger in 2016 with China Music Corporation.
Hanwei is seeking guidance from investment firms Deutsche Bank AG, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and other companies who help to invest in Tencent. He has filed a motion for discovery and is requesting that Guomin and any others involved return percentages of their equity stakes in their music services to compensate the losses made by giving up his equity stakes in music streaming.
Hanwei claims that Guomin convinced him Ocean Music would turn a profit a year after 2012 when he invested the equivalent of $26 million in Ocean Music which eventually went to establishing Tencent Music. Guomin then told Hanwei that the business was failing despite receiving capital infusions of $100 million. Hanwei was reportedly threatened with government investigation if he didn’t sell his equity and was eventually convinced to sell his shares for far less than their value.
A spokesperson for Guomin says: “We believe a review of the circumstances and facts surrounding this matter clearly show that Mr. Xie, who is now Tencent Music’s Co-President, used unlawful intimidation tactics and threats to defraud a respected, honorable investor. It is unfortunate that Mr. Xie and other respondents have not righted this wrong prior to Tencent Music’s December 12 Initial Public Offering in the United States, where shareholders and regulators hold companies and their officers to high standards of conduct.”
Tencent are limited in what they are able to say prior to their IPO on Wednesday, December 12th so there is currently no comment from the other side. However, coming just a week before they go live this controversy could tar their entry into the US stock market.