San Francisco: Joining the race to buy TikTok, rival social video platform Triller has approached its China-based owner ByteDance directly with a $20 billion bid via London-based global investment firm Centricus, the media reported on Saturday.
In a statement to The Verge, Triller claimed it made the bid directly to TikTok owner ByteDance and not to TikTok itself.
“We submitted an offer directly to the chairman of ByteDance through Centricus and have confirmation it was received. We didn’t make an offer to TikTok, they aren’t involved in this at all,” Triller executive chairman Bobby Sarnevesht said.
“We made an offer to Bytedance and are dealing directly with the chairman only. Either people multiple layers down aren’t aware of what is happening on the highest level or they may have their own agendas and aren’t happy about our offer coming in,” he added.
TikTok, however, denied receiving any such offer in media reports.
As TikTok acquisition turns messy, retail giant Walmart has already confirmed that it is teaming up with Microsoft in a bid for China-based short-video making platform that has 700 million users globally and 100 million in the US.
According to the reports, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is inching closer towards a pact amid the 90-day deadline set by the US President Donald Trump to sell its US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations in a deal that is likely to be in the “$20 billion to $30 billion range”.
ByteDance is negotiating with three companies, including Microsoft and Oracle, and a deal announcing the sale of its US operations is expected in the coming days.
The developments came as TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer announced his resignation this week amid the political turmoil and sales talk.
TikTok came under pressure to sell its US operations after Trump threatened to ban the short-video-sharing platform over national security concerns.
Trump issued an executive order on August 6, prohibiting ByteDance from conducting any transaction in the US within 45 days.
The US President issued another executive order on August 14, giving ByteDance an option to divest its TikTok business in the US within 90 days.
TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the first executive order.