Triller Chief Executive Bobby Sarnevesht said on Friday that the short video app had made a $20 billion offer with investment firm Centricus Asset Management for the assets of rival TikTok that China’s ByteDance is looking to divest.
ByteDance and TikTok denied knowledge of the offer, raising questions about whether the proposed deal between two of the most popular social media apps in the United States represented a serious offer or was a publicity stunt.
President Donald Trump ordered ByteDance to ditch TikTok in the United States, we know that he signed an executive order against Tiktok.
Microsoft and Oracle are among the US companies competing to acquire the assets of TikTok, which has about 100 million monthly active users in the United States. The Chinese firm is expected to select a bidder to enter into exclusive talks soon. “We submitted an offer directly to the Chairman of ByteDance through Centricus, and we have confirmation that it was received and is being considered by him,” officials stated. A TikTok spokesman said Triller and Centricus had not contacted the company about an offer.
Sarnevesht said this was because TikTok was not involved in the talks, adding that Triller and Centricus were dealing directly with ByteDance Chairman Zhang Yiming. ByteDance, however, said it was also unaware of Triller and Centricus’ offering. “The company has not had any conversations with them and we are not aware of any interest,” ByteDance said in a statement.
The proposed $20 billion offer will be funded by Centricus, and Triller executives will run TikTok if their offer prevails, according to a person familiar with the financial details, who sought anonymity. However, it was not immediately clear whether Centricus, with $27 billion in assets according to its website, could muster the resources for such an offering.
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The London-based firm did not respond to a request for comment. “We understand that our offer upsets some TikTok executives in the United States, as it disrupts an agreement that may be more favorable to them and less favorable to shareholders,” Sarnevesht said in his statement. “They are doing everything possible to discredit our offer and prevent it from being considered real.”
Triller and Centricus will bid $20 billion for TikTok assetsTriller has 65 million monthly active users, compared to 100 million for TikTok in the United States. Triller sought a valuation of $1.25 billion in a private fundraising round this month. While TikTok is best known for its nondescript videos of people dancing and going viral among teenagers, US officials have raised concerns that user information could be passed on to the Communist government of China.
Trump, a prolific social media user, joined Triller this month. “We have received assurances from people close to the White House that this is something the administration would favor,” Sarnevesht said. “All we need TikTok to do is provide us with your user data and content, and the Triller platform can handle it.”