UAE spymaster purchases $100 million stake in TikTok maker ByteDance; company valuation at $220bn

United Arab Emirates spy chief, royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan has purchased a more than $100 million stake in ByteDance Ltd., the parent company behind the popular video platform TikTok, says a Bloomberg report. 

In recent months, Abu Dhabi-based AI firm G42, a technology group controlled by the UAE royal, reportedly acquired the $100 million-plus stake from existing investors through its 42XFund.

Watch | Rishi Sunak hints at TikTok ban from UK government devices

At the recent private-market investment, G42 valued ByteDance at around $220 billion.

Bloomberg reports that this valuation in the G42 transaction “doesn’t yet reflect potential after-effects of the Silicon Valley Bank implosion, which stunned startups from the US to China and has raised concerns about broader systemic risks”.

The investment is reportedly “well off the peak” of the $460 billion valuation at which Tiger Global Management had purchased shares in 2021.

Another fund also bought into the company at $225 billion shortly after, reports Bloomberg quoting anonymous sources.

The recent spate of uncertainty around the app in Washington and elsewhere could be behind the Chinese firm’s turbulent price tag. Recently, in the US, lawmakers accused the app of being a national security threat.

Following this, Washington banned the app from government devices. The European Union and Canada have also followed suit, while India had banned the app earlier. 

Sheikh Tahnoon, often referred to as UAE’s spymaster, has reportedly built a portfolio through G42. His portfolio consists of everything from cloud computing to vaccines and driverless cars. 42XFund via which the recent ByteDance investment was made was set up last year. The $10 Billion fund invests in technology companies across emerging markets.

(With inputs from agencies)


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