Short video app Triller is considering a backdoor public offering as its better-known rival, TikTok, fights an impending ban in the US, a new report says.
Triller, which launched in 2015 but has only a fraction of the 100 million TikTok users in the US, has had discussions with blank check companies about potential merger deals that would make it public, Reuters reported Sunday.
Those companies, also known as special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are publicly traded companies that raise money to buy or merge with another company that takes over their public listing.
Reuters did not name the companies Triller has spoken to, but high-profile billionaires such as Virgin mogul Richard Branson and hedge fund mogul Bill Ackman have launched SPAC in recent months.
The talks come as TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance works to finalize a deal that would spin off the app’s operations in the United States in response to President Trump’s threat to ban it out of concerns that its user data could be shared with the government of China. TikTok has denied those allegations.
The deal would create a US-based company called TikTok Global that would be partially owned by US software firm Oracle and retail giant Walmart. But Trump has raised concerns about ByteDance’s involvement in the new entity, and the approval process could reportedly run through November.
Triller, whose celebrity users include Alicia Keys, Cardi B, Eminem and Trump himself, is debating whether to move forward with a SPAC deal or to pursue a private funding round that aims to raise roughly $ 250 million, according to Reuters. The app has secured around $ 100 million so far with a valuation of $ 1.25 billion, the news agency reported.
Triller did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Los Angeles-based Triller has tangled with TikTok in recent months as the latest app faced a crackdown from the feds.
The company accused TikTok in a July lawsuit of infringing on its patent for linking multiple music videos to an audio track. The following month, Triller claimed it was partnering with Centricus Asset Management to bid for TikTok, but ByteDance said it was unaware of the offering.