Tencent M&A chief said to leave after $27 billion in deals

Tencent became the most acquisitive Chinese company under Peng's stewardship by participating in at least 90 deals.
Tencent became the most acquisitive Chinese company under Peng's stewardship by participating in at least 90 deals.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s mergers and acquisitions chief Richard Peng Zhijian is leaving China's largest Internet company to start his own investment fund, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The former Google Inc. executive helped drive the Shenzhen- based company's participation in about US$19 billion (S$26.8 billion) worth of deals during his seven-year tenure, helping transform Tencent into a business spanning social media, gaming and online commerce. The people asked not to be identified because Tencent hasn't announced Peng's departure.

Tencent became the most acquisitive Chinese company under Peng's stewardship by participating in at least 90 deals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That surpassed the number of investments by the most active venture-capital firms in the country, including Sequoia Capital and Qiming Venture Partners, during the same period, the data showed.

Mr Peng was one of Google's earliest employees in China before joining Tencent in 2008. His signature deals included backing Didi Dache, a ride-hailing service that merged with Kuaidi in February to better compete with Uber Technologies Inc.

Tencent has evolved from a focus on desktop messaging through QQ to WeChat, the Twitter-like service that's grown into a mobile ecosystem providing banking, commerce and other services in competition with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Tencent also invested in Riot Games Inc., Pocket Gems and Glu Mobile Inc., maker of a popular smartphone game based on Kim Kardashian.

Mr Peng didn't respond to a text message seeking comment, and calls to his office were answered by operators who said he wasn't there. Prudence Ho, a spokesman for Tencent, said she couldn't comment.