TikTok could be sold to US in­vestors

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Lau­rence Dodds in San Fran­cisco

THE em­bat­tled vi­ral video app TikTok could be split off from its Chinese par­ent com­pany and sold to in­vestors in the United States in or­der to shield it from reg­u­la­tory wrath, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

ByteDance, the mas­sive Beijing start-up be­hind TikTok, is said to be dis­cussing the plan with a small group of its US in­vestors. In­sid­ers told web­site The In­for­ma­tion the plan was ten­ta­tive and pre­lim­i­nary, rep­re­sent­ing only one pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to the threat the US might fol­low In­dia in ban­ning TikTok. A TikTok spokesper­son said: “As we con­sider the best path for­ward, ByteDance is eval­u­at­ing changes to the cor­po­rate struc­ture of its TikTok busi­ness ... we will move for­ward in the best in­ter­est of our users, em­ploy­ees, artists, creators, part­ners, and pol­i­cy­mak­ers.” That was a sharp con­trast with TikTok’s stance last year, when it cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied sim­i­lar re­ports claim­ing there had been “no dis­cus­sions about any par­tial or full sale”. A for­mal split could in­su­late TikTok from wide­spread sus­pi­cion around its re­la­tion­ship to the Chinese gov­ern­ment, but would bring se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions, as well as a steep price for any new buyer given its ex­plo­sive au­di­ence growth.

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