Hong Kong/London: Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is in talks to join a Chinese investor group pursuing a takeover of Finland’s Amer Sports Oyj, people familiar with the matter said. Tencent, China’s largest social-media company, is considering joining the consortium led by Anta Sports Products Ltd as a minority investor, according to the people mentioned above.

The buyer group is also in talks with other potential minority partners, though no firm agreements have been reached, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Anta said in September it had joined with Chinese buyout firm FountainVest Partners to make an indicative offer of €40 per share for Amer, valuing the target at about €4.7 billion ($5.3 billion).

The consortium has been progressing in the potential takeover and seeking at least €3.5 billion in loans, Bloomberg News reported last month.

Online shopping

Roping in Tencent could help the investor group boost Amer’s brands in one of the world’s biggest online shopping markets.

Chinese internet companies have been partnering with physical retailers, with Tencent agreeing last year to invest in a supermarket chain and rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd acquiring a local department store operator.

The Chinese suitors aim to reach an acquisition agreement as soon as the next several weeks, according to the people. Any deal could still face delays or fall apart, the people said. A spokeswoman for Tencent and an external representative for the Chinese buyer consortium declined to comment. Anta, which has a market value of about $11.6 billion, has been working to grow its business overseas amid a Chinese government push to expand in sports ranging from soccer to skiing.

Amer’s portfolio of well-known sports brands, including Salomon ski equipment, could be an attractive prospect for Anta ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Asia.

Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022, providing a springboard for sales of skis and snowboards, while the 2020 Summer Games will be held in Tokyo. Amer’s other brands include Wilson tennis rackets, Louisville Slugger baseball bats and Arc’teryx outdoor gear.

Meanwhile, Tencent on Wednesday said it posted a 30% profit rise in latest quarter, handily beating expectations as new video games already in pipeline mitigated any impact from a government crackdown on the lucrative game sector.

Bloomberg’s Carol Zhong contributed to this story.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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