TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance says that is not selling a stake in its hit short-form video sharing app.
TikTok boss Alex Zhu issued a pre-Holidays internal memo, obtained by Reuters last month, which dismissed an earlier Bloomberg report suggesting that the company was mulling the sale of a stake in the app.
Bloomberg’s article, published December 24, suggested that the Chinese tech giant was considering various options over US security concerns.
Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, reported that ByteDance ‘advisors are pitching everything from an aggressive legal defense and operational separation for TikTok to sale of a majority stake’.
In the internal memo seen by Reuters – also published December 24 – TikTok’s Zhu said that Bloomberg’s report was untrue.
“From time to time you may read stories in the media that are not true,” said Zhu.
“I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT WE HAVE HAD NO DISCUSSIONS WITH POTENTIAL BUYERS OF TIKTOK, NOR DO WE HAVE ANY INTENTION TO.”
ALEX ZHU, TIKTOK
“Today there is an inaccurate report claiming that ByteDance has considered selling part or all of TikTok.”
Added Zhu: “We went on the record saying it was not true, but they decided to publish it anyway.
“I want to assure you that we have had no discussions with potential buyers of TikTok, nor do we have any intention to.”
A report published by Reuters back in November 2019 claimed that ByteDance wanted to separate TikTok from its China-based operations and had ‘stepped up efforts’ to do so ‘amid a US national security panel’s inquiry into the safety of the personal data it handles.’
A request was sent by Senator Marco Rubio in October to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to launch an investigation into ByteDance’s $800-million plus acquisition of music karaoke app Musical.ly in 2017, over censorship and privacy concerns.
“The Chinese government’s nefarious efforts to censor information inside free societies around the world cannot be accepted and pose serious long-term challenges to the U.S. and our allies,” wrote Rubio.