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TikTok parent ByteDance offers share buyback valuing the Chinese giant at $268 billion

Sheldon Cooper | LightRocket | Getty Images

TikTok parent ByteDance plans to spend up to $5 billion buying back stock, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC, as one of the world’s most valuable startups seeks to give shareholders a chance to cash out of their holdings.

ByteDance is offering shareholders $160 per share, which values the firm at around $268 billion, the person said.

There is no timeline for the completion of the share repurchases, but ByteDance has asked shareholders if they’d like to sign up to the program, the person said.

ByteDance declined to comment.

Buybacks by private companies are often a way for shareholders to make a return on their early investments, especially when there is no liquidity event like an initial public offering or acquisition.

The latest round of buybacks for shareholders comes just under a month after ByteDance offered to repurchase restricted stock units (RSU) or options from employees for the same price of $160 per share.

ByteDance, which was founded in 2012, has been tipped to go public for the last few years, but has faced an increasing number of headwinds.

The Chinese giant’s most popular overseas app TikTok has faced scrutiny from lawmakers across the world, in particular in the U.S., where critics have questioned the safety of American data on the platform.

ByteDance is also cutting hundreds of jobs from its gaming division, where the company has aggressively expanded without success.

The firm has been hit by a slowing Chinese economy and by stricter domestic regulation in the internet sector.

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