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15 May, 2024 15:27

US tycoon launches bid to buy TikTok

Frank McCourt has announced plans to acquire the Chinese-owned social media app’s American business
US tycoon launches bid to buy TikTok

American real estate mogul Frank McCourt revealed on Wednesday that he plans to build a consortium to buy social media app TikTok’s US business from its Chinese owner.

The bid comes after US President Joe Biden signed a law in April seeking to force the platform’s owner ByteDance to sell the app or face a complete ban in the country.

The law gives ByteDance 270 days to divest from its US business. If it fails to comply, TikTok will be banned from app stores serving American customers. ByteDance, which is challenging the US law in court, has said it has no intention of selling the asset.

Over the past few years, a number of US lawmakers have made claims regarding supposed security breaches and violations by TikTok, which has staunchly denied the allegations.

McCourt, the executive chairman of a family real estate giant, McCourt Global, and the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, said he plans to buy and rebuild TikTok as “a new and better version of the internet.” 

“We see this potential acquisition as an incredible opportunity to catalyze an alternative to the current tech model that has colonized the internet,” McCourt said in a statement.

According to the businessman, TikTok presents “the best and worst of the internet” by connecting millions of people and allowing them to be creative.

“On the other hand, they don’t get to really share in the value that’s created, and their data is scraped and stolen and shipped to China,” he told the Semafor news outlet.

McCourt said he is working with investment bank Guggenheim Securities, legal firm Kirkland & Ellis, and a number of academics and technologists in an effort to prepare what he described as “the people’s bid” to buy TikTok. He claims the goal would be to migrate the video-sharing app to a digital open-source protocol.

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