ByteDance Kicks Off IPO Prep for China’s Most Popular Video App, Other Assets

ByteDance Ltd. has kicked off preparations for an initial public offering of some of its main businesses, including China’s most popular video app Douyin, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Beijing-based startup is working with advisers on the offering and is choosing between Hong Kong and U.S. as the listing venue, the people said. The company is considering including its flagship domestic assets such as Douyin, news aggregator Toutiao and video platform Xigua in the offering, the people said. TikTok will likely be part of a separate listing that involves overseas assets, one of the people said.

ByteDance could raise at least several billion dollars from a listing of the Chinese assets, although the size could still change as deliberations are at an early stage, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

A representative for ByteDance didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

ByteDance, founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012, has demonstrated the rare ability to create repeated hit services in competition with giants like Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. His first big success was Toutiao, which means “headlines” in Chinese. TikTok became a global phenomenon, while its twin video app Douyin is leading in China’s domestic market.

Trading of ByteDance shares in private markets valued the company at more than $250 billion, people familiar with the matter have said, cementing its crown as the world’s most valuable startup.

The company last month hired its first chief financial officer -- Chew Shou Zi, who oversaw Xiaomi Corp.’s initial public offering as finance chief more than two years ago. The appointment has fueled speculation over the social media giant’s plans to go public.

ByteDance has been looking to list some of its biggest assets when it was in talks with a group for investors over fundraising, Bloomberg News reported in November. The startup plans to file a prospectus for a Hong Kong IPO in the second quarter, Caixin reported Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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