Bytedance mulls selling majority stake in short-video app TikTok

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/Illustration/File Photo

TikTok parent Bytedance is reportedly considering to reduce its stake in the short-video app. According to reports in The New York Times and The Information, the Chinese firm is planning to sell a majority stake to the existing investors, and will retain minority stake in the platform. The move is an effort to quell the possibility of a ban by the United States (US) government.

Bytedance is valued at $100 billion and its investors include global firms like KKR, Tiger Global, Softbank’s Vision Fund, Tiger Global, Sequoia and General Atlantic, among others. Most of these companies already have investments in both the US and India, and may help the company quell government’s concerns around Chinese spying.

The Donald Trump administration is considering to ban TikTok in the US. A Senate panel in the country had earlier approved a move to ban federal employees in the US from using TikTok. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also told Fox News earlier that the government would consider banning TikTok.

While Bytedance has rubbished any claims around its apps being a national security risk, there have been signs of the company distancing itself from China. TikTok had earlier pulled out of Hong Kong after a new law imposed on the country by China. Earlier reports have indicated that the company has also considered creating a new board for TikTok and establishing headquarters outside China.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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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.