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China's Tencent to buy $180M stake in Brazil startup Nubank

China-based technology company Tencent Holdings Ltd. is investing $180 million to buy an undisclosed minority stake in Brazilian financial technology company Nubank, Reuters reported, citing statements from both companies.

The funds will be used to help Nubank "build a full-service personal finance platform" aimed at boosting the Brazilian startup's payments, consumer loans, engineering and machine learning areas, Tencent President Martin Lau and Nubank CEO David Velez said in separate statements.

Of the amount, $90 million will be paid via capital increase, while the other half will be used to buy partial stakes from the Brazilian startup's shareholders, Velez added.

A person familiar with the matter earlier told tech-focused news outlet The Information that Tencent agreed to pay $200 million for a 5% stake in Nubank.

The deal suggests that Nubank's valuation is now about US$4 billion, according to the report, which cited a person familiar with the matter. Startup tracker CB Insights had placed Nubank's value at US$2 billion in March.

Tencent might have a limited influence on Nubank's management, given the minority stake, although it could share its technology to the Brazilian startup to help it grow. According to the report's source, the deal will enable Tencent to pursue other startups in Latin America.

Founded in 2013, Nubank began offering no-fee, digital credit cards in 2014. In 2017, the fintech startup already attracted more than 4 million customers.

Nubank raised US$150 million in its sixth investment round in March, bringing the total amount it has raised to US$330 million since its inception.