TikTok rival Triller Inc. is in talks with blank-check acquisition companies about a merger that could take the company public, a media report said.
The video-production-focused social-media company is negotiating a possible deal with special purpose acquisition companies, Reuters reported.
Triller is working with investment bank Farvahar Partners, sources told Reuters.
SPACs, or blank-check companies, are publicly traded entities formed specifically to find and merge with operating companies.
Triller is also in talks with investors to privately raise as much as $250 million, Reuters reported. That effort, led by UBS, has so far secured $100 million at a $1.25 billion valuation, sources told Reuters.
Triller has said it seeks to capitalize on TikTok’s uncertain situation in the U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance, to shed the app due to concern that U.S. citizens’ personal data might be accessible to China’s communist government.
Tiktok has 100 million U.S. users and Triller has a fraction of that figure, Reuters reported. Triller told CNBC in early August that it had 65 million monthly active users on its app.
Triller is controlled by the media industry veteran Ryan Kavanaugh and the healthcare executive Bobby Sarnevesht, Reuters reported.
- Video app Triller is exploring the possibility of an IPO, sources told Reuters.
- The company is reportedly in talks to set up a public listing via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
- It is simultaneously pursuing a private funding round, and sources told Reuters it had raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion so far.
- The sources said no deal is yet firm, and that Triller is still deciding which path to take.
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Short-form video app Triller, which bills itself as a rival to the wildly successful TikTok, is reportedly exploring an IPO.
Reuters reported Sunday that Triller was in talks with investment bank Farvahar Partners about a potential merger and IPO.
Sources told Reuters the merger, if successful, would be with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
SPACs are essentially shell companies that go public to raise capital in order to acquire a company, allowing their target to easily obtain a public listing.
Triller was simultaneously in talks to raise a private fundraising round, sources told Reuters, adding that it had raised $100 million at a valuation of $1.25 billion so far.
Reuters’ sources said Triller was deciding whether to carry on with the private raise or forge a deal with the SPAC. They added that no deal was certain yet.
Triller was not immediately available to comment on the report when contacted by Business Insider.
Triller has positioned itself as an emerging competitor to TikTok, which it is suing for alleged patent infringement.
Last month it said it had 100 million monthly active users, and CEO Mike Lu told TechCrunch Disrupt on September 15 that the company’s growth was “definitely on a rocket ship.”
TikTok remains much larger than Triller, with 689 million monthly active users
Momentus, the space infrastructure startup that offers so-called last-mile delivery services through partnerships with companies like SpaceX, is heading for the public markets.
The three-year-old firm said this morning it will merge with Stable Road Capital, a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The merged entity will have an approximate valuation of $1.2 billion and will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol MNTS. The deal is expected to be finalized sometime next year.
Momentus was recently named one of Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies for its water-based propulsion system, which helps move satellites and cargo in space.
Momentus is one of a growing number of startups to announce it will go public by merging with a SPAC, also known as a blank-check company. Just yesterday, health insurer Clover Health announced it would go public by merging with a SPAC led by Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya. Personal care brand Hims said last week it would choose a similar route.
According to MarketWatch, 2020 has been a record year for SPAC mergers, with more than 80 announced as of September. While they’ve become a popular pared-down alternative to the traditional IPO process, a recent report from Renaissance Capital found they often result in lower returns, and critics claim they could allow companies to skirt regulatory safeguards. Jay Clayton, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, recently vowed more scrutiny of the process.
SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, are all the rage right now, and people are emerging from all corners to raise them.
Among the latest entrants — and someone who might be of interest to Silicon Valley watchers — is Emil Michael, a former Uber executive and top lieutenant to former CEO Travis Kalanick. Earlier today, Micheal registered plans with the SEC to raise $250 million in an IPO for a blank-check company that will broadly acquire a company in the tech sector.
IPO Edge had reported earlier today that the SPAC might be in the works.
The filing lists as special advisors Alphabet’s former executive chairman Eric Schmidt, and Betsy Atkins, a founder of Ascend Communications and investor who has served on so many boards that last year she wrote a book about it. Indeed, among her other roles currently, she’s on the boards of Volvo, Wynn Resorts, and Oyo Hotels.
Michael was as senior vice president of field operations at Tellme Networks, then later served as COO of the startup Klout before landing at Uber, where he was a senior vice president for business for nearly four years.
He gained prominence in the role, but also some disrepute after he publicly made comments about hiring opposition researchers to quite journalists critical of the company and following a later report that he had attended an “escort bar” in Seoul with other Uber executives, including Kalanick. Indeed, when he left the company in 2017, Uber declined to say if he left of his own accord.
Despite — or perhaps even because of — his trajectory at Uber, Michael was reportedly vetted at one point for the position of Secretary of Transportation after Donald Trump was elected president. Now, he apparently sees a way to jump back into tech by using
One of Wall Street’s most talked-about trends is the wave of special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, that have launched IPOs at such a torrid pace that they’re on track to raise more than triple last year’s totals.
One-hundred and twelve SPACs, aka “blank-check firms,” have raised more than $40 billion so far this year, according to the website SPAC Research. There are now 183 shell companies with $57 billion to spend on bringing other companies public, the data provider said.
There’s an entire ecosystem of advisers, salespeople, and lawyers increasingly pitching blank-check companies to investment platforms and wealthy people. Asset managers like Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Capital Research are also increasingly participating in the market, lending an additional aura of respectability to what had once been considered a back corner of the financial markets.
Historically, SPACs have been used as an alternate way into the public markets for companies that didn’t have the governance threshold to attract investors in a traditional IPO, or a last-ditch effort for investors to exit their stake. The traditional process requires filing a prospectus, engaging with the SEC and facing scrutiny from discerning investors.
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Inevitably, that meant the deals didn’t always work out well and the market had a history of failures and occasional cases of fraud. In 2005, for example, the SEC removed some protections afforded other entities after some of the shell companies were implicated in fraud, according to a Harvard Law