NEW YORK: Triller executive chairman Bobby Sarnevesht said 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 seeking to a divest.
ByteDance and TikTok denied knowledge of the offer, raising questions over whether the proposed deal between two of the most popular social media apps in the US represented a serious bid or was a publicity stunt.
ByteDance has been ordered by President Donald Trump to divest TikTok in the US, amid security concerns over the personal data it handles.
Microsoft and Oracle are among the US companies vying to acquire the assets of TikTok, which claims about 100 million monthly active users in the US. The Chinese firm is expected to pick a bidder to enter into exclusive talks soon.
Walmart has also shown interest in US TikTok operations with Microsoft.
“We submitted an offer directly to the chairman of ByteDance through Centricus, and have confirmation it was received and is under consideration by him,” Sarnevesht said.
A TikTok spokesman said Centricus and Triller 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 the offer from Triller and Centricus.
“The company has not had any conversations with them and we are unaware of any interest,” ByteDance said.
The proposed $20bn bid will be financed by Centricus, with Triller executives running TikTok should their bid prevail, according to a person familiar with the financial details, who sought anonymity.
It was not immediately clear, however, if Centricus, with $27bn in assets according to its website, could muster the resources for such a bid.