TikTok owner ByteDance launches share buyback after shelving IPO plans

FILE PHOTO: TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken Nov. 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of short video platform giant TikTok, launched a share buyback this week for current and former employees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

The buyback comes after ByteDance announced in April that it did not have imminent plans for a public listing. The company had planned to list some of its Chinese businesses including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin in Hong Kong, sources previously told Reuters.

Last week, company founder Zhang Yiming unexpectedly announced that he will step down as CEO, a move that comes as Chinese regulators are increasing scrutiny of the country’s biggest technology firms.

In an email sent to current and former employees this week, ByteDance said eligible shareholders can apply to sell their holdings by June 20 at $126 per share for current employees and $100.80 per share for former employees, the people said.

The price for current employees during an earlier buyback last November was $60 a share, the sources said.

Beijing-based ByteDance declined to comment.

The nine-year-old company typically launches share buybacks twice a year, the sources said, declining to be named as the information is not public.

Some ByteDance employees recently expressed frustration on social media for not being able to sell their shares in an IPO.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.