TikTok owner ByteDance in fundraising talks that will value it at $180 billion: sources

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People walk past a logo of Bytedance, which owns short video app TikTok, at its office in Beijing

By Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – TikTok-owner ByteDance is in early talks to raise a new round of financing that will value it at $180 billion after the investment, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The company is discussing the round with existing investors including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic to raise around $2 billion for the company, the people said, declining to be named as the talks were not public.

This is not a pre-IPO round, one of the sources said, as ByteDance has not yet decided on whether to obtain a standalone public listing for Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, or list some of its Chinese operations including Douyin and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao as a package in Hong Kong or Shanghai.

ByteDance has been exploring both scenarios, Reuters reported last month and in July.

General Atlantic declined to comment. ByteDance and Sequoia Capital did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Washington has put heavy pressure on the company to sell the U.S. operations of its highly popular TikTok short video app. The White House contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China’s government.

Talks have been ongoing to finalise a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc <WMT.N> and Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> to take stakes in a new company to oversee TikTok’s U.S. operations.

ByteDance is currently settling details in areas like personnel, such as which staff members will join the new TikTok entity, one of the sources said.

The Chinese company has seen its valuation more than double in the past two years. ByteDance’s last round of financing dates back to 2018, which valued the company at $78 billion after the investment. Earlier this year, ByteDance was valued at as much as $140 billion in the secondary private equity market.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Evans)

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