TikTok courts Instagram’s founder to lead US spin-off
TIKTOK is making overtures to Instagram founder and former boss Kevin Systrom to lead an American spin-off company that could go public as early as next year, according to reports. Sources told the New York
Times that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, is in talks with the 36-year-old billionaire to recruit him as chief executive of the venture. That job would pit him against his own creation, which he sold to Facebook in 2012 and which has become TikTok’s biggest rival in a battle for the hearts and minds of teenagers across the world.
Mr Systrom led Instagram until 2018, when he quit after losing patience with Facebook’s relentless pressure to integrate Instagram more deeply with Facebook’s main service and to collect more private data from its users.
On Thursday Reuters reported ByteDance was preparing to relinquish control of TikTok to American investors after agreeing to lastminute demands from the US government. The company will reportedly be called TikTok Global and could float on a US exchange within a year, with Oracle operating its infrastructure and taking a large stake.
It is not clear whether the company will include all of TikTok’s operations or just those in North America. ByteDance and Oracle did not respond to requests for comment.