ByteDance, the parent company of short-video platform TikTok, is in talks with Wall Street banks to borrow more than $3 billion to refinance its debt, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who chose to remain anonymous, citing confidentiality constraints.
According to one of the sources, the Chinese tech giant plans to take advantage of currently low-interest rates to repay its debt, adding that terms and the loan size are still subject to changes. Reportedly, ByteDance and the banks have discussed raising between $4 billion to $5 billion to refinance debt and fund international expansion.
Regarding ByteDance’s expansion, as of the beginning of the year, it was reported that ByteDance was exploring a public listing. The company, in April, refuted this report and said that it had no imminent plans for an initial public offering.
In August, the Financial Times reported that ByteDance had restored its plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) and list in Hong Kong by 2022, after addressing Chinese regulators’ concerns. According to the Financial Times, ByteDance had plans to list in either the fourth quarter of 2021 or in early 2022. “We are expecting final guidance from ByteDance in September. They are submitting all the filings with Chinese authorities right now and are going through the review process,” the Financial Times said, citing sources familiar with the matter.
A ByteDance spokesperson, however, debunked the Financial Times report saying that it was not accurate and declined to provide more details.
In recent months, ByteDance’s short video social networking platform, TikTok, has seen a rapid increase in the number of its users. Its creative and highly engaged community has set it apart from other social commerce platforms and has made it a force for social commerce companies to reckon with. Last month, Shopify partnered with TikTok on a feature that would allow individuals to buy directly from TikTok. According to TikTok and Shopify, the deal aims to provide a channel for Shopify merchants to reach new audiences and drive sales on TikTok.
ByteDance is also the developer of the video-sharing social networking service Douyin, the Chinese-specific counterpart to TikTok. In addition, it develops the news and information platform Toutiao. As of November 2018, ByteDance had over 800 million daily active users (over 1 billion accumulated users) across all of its content platforms.