TikTok owner ByteDance offers to buy back shares from staff at $160 apiece

By Brenda Goh and Josh Ye

9:45 AM UTC – November 8, 2023

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SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s ByteDance, the parent of short video app TikTok, is offering to buy back shares from its employees outside the United States for $160 apiece, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, a plan that the company confirmed.

The price per restricted stock unit is in line with an offer it made to current and former U.S. employees in October, according to a Reuters report which said the company was looking to buy at least $300 million worth of stock at $160 per share.

The price valued the company at $223.5 billion, about 26% lower than a valuation a year earlier, the Reuters report said. Last year, ByteDance was valued at $300 billion in a buyback program offered to its non-U.S. employees.

The latest $160 price is higher than the $155 price set in an earlier April buyback, the person added.

A ByteDance spokesperson confirmed the share buyback plan for employees outside the U.S., saying it aimed to provide liquidity options for staff through such programs. The company has offered buyback programs twice a year to eligible current and former staff since 2017.

Buybacks allow employees to cash in shares without waiting for the company to list on the stock market. An initial public offering for ByteDance has been highly anticipated for years, but the company has said since 2021 it had no imminent plans amid Beijing’s heightened scrutiny of China’s technology giants.

Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Josh YE in Hong KongEditing by Mark Potter

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