TikTok owner ByteDance launches share buyback after shelving IPO plans – sources

FILE PHOTO: TikTok head office in United States

By Yingzhi Yang and Tony Munroe

BEIJING (Reuters) – ByteDance, the Chinese owner of short video platform giant TikTok, launched a share buyback this week for current and former employees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

The buyback comes after ByteDance announced in April that it did not have imminent plans for a public listing. The company had planned to list some of its Chinese businesses including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin in Hong Kong, sources previously told Reuters.

Last week, company founder Zhang Yiming unexpectedly announced that he will step down as CEO, a move that comes as Chinese regulators are increasing scrutiny of the country’s biggest technology firms.

In an email sent to current and former employees this week, ByteDance said eligible shareholders can apply to sell their holdings by June 20 at $126 per share for current employees and $100.80 per share for former employees, the people said.

The price for current employees during an earlier buyback last November was $60 a share, the sources said.

Beijing-based ByteDance declined to comment.

The nine-year-old company typically launches share buybacks twice a year, the sources said, declining to be named as the information is not public.

Some ByteDance employees recently expressed frustration on social media for not being able to sell their shares in an IPO.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Tony Munroe; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)