Tencent Music pauses IPO amid market turmoil

Tencent Music Entertainment Group is postponing its initial public offering until at least November because of the selloff in global markets, according to people familiar with the offering, hitting pause on what would be one of the largest IPOs in the U.S. this year.

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The music-streaming company met with its underwriting team this week to discuss the price range Tencent Music would set for its hotly anticipated IPO, but they opted to wait several weeks over worries that the market turmoil would affect the pricing, these people said.

The company was expected to kick off its roadshow to sell shares to investors next week and was expected to start trading the week of October 22, one of the people said.

At risk is the valuation of a company that was in position to be one of the biggest tech IPOs ever. Based on early conversations with investors, demand for the listing was expected to be strong, one of the people said, and Tencent Music was expecting a valuation between $25 billion and $30 billion.

But IPO valuations can be volatile and may change up until the offering is priced. Tencent Music's private valuation has soared in the past year -- the firm was valued at $12.5 billion late last year when it swapped stakes with peer Spotify Technology SA.

The move to postpone comes as global markets have been in tumult. U.S. stocks fell sharply Thursday, one day after the Dow industrials were led sharply lower by falling shares of technology companies. The S&P 500 index has declined more than 6% so far in October.

China's markets, meanwhile, have been among the hardest hit during the recent rout. Its technology companies are especially taking a beating, doubly hit by an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China that has hurt China's biggest tech suppliers, as well as a broad selloff in internet companies.

Among the companies that have been walloped is Tencent Music's parent company, Tencent Holdings Ltd., whose shares fell 6.8% Thursday in Hong Kong for their 10th straight decline. Its shares are down 34% so far this year.

Earlier this month, Tencent Music filed to go public in the U.S., setting the stage for China's largest music streamer to likely become one of the biggest technology IPOs to date.

The service was created in mid-2016 after Tencent Holdings bought a controlling stake in China Music Corp. and combined it with Tencent's existing streaming business. Tencent Music operates several popular apps including QQ Music and an online karaoke platform. It is benefiting from a broad boom in streaming that has reshaped the music industry.

The U.S. IPO market has been thriving this year, with 193 companies raising $52.7 billion, the busiest year since 2014 and up 46% from last year's volume year to date, according to Dealogic data.