IPO put in cold storage as ByteDance feels the heat

Tik Tok’s parent ByteDance is expected to be the first to drop a listing attempt after China’s recent crackdown on the ride-hailing company Didi Global.

ByteDance reiterated that it has no plan to go public yet, after Deirdre Bosa, a reporter at CNBC, tweeted that the titan is to delay the initial public offering and lower its valuation, citing sources.

This came after the Beijing-based company previously said in April it had no imminent plans for an initial public offering.

ByteDance had hired former Xiaomi (1810) executive Shou Zi Chew for a newly-created role as chief finance officer, suggesting the tech company was moving a step closer to a much-anticipated IPO.

“There has been recent media speculation about our IPO plans. We would like to clarify that we’re not ready at this stage and do not have IPO plans yet,” TikTok owner ByteDance said in a statement to Reuters.

ByteDance has been exploring possibilities to list Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, in New York or Hong Kong, or obtain a public listing for some of its Chinese businesses including Douyin and news aggregator Toutiao, Reuters had reported.

ByteDance has also been looking at a potential IPO for its non-China business, which includes TikTok that is not available in China, in Europe or the United States.

Separately, FTSE Russell said Didi Global will be added to its global equity indexes as scheduled on July 8, but not if trading in shares of the ride-hailing company is suspended during US market hours.

However, the duo behind Didi Global lost US$1.5 billion (HK$11.7 billion) in wealth in two trading days as its shares plummeted in New York.

Cheng Wei, co-founder and chief executive officer, saw his net worth drop by about US$1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Jean Liu, co-founder and president, shed about US$300 million.

In China, Didi’s service has been removed from Tencent’s (0700) WeChat and Alibaba’s (9988) Alipay for new customers, mainland media reported.

Meanwhile, China’s market regulator said it has fined a number of internet companies including Didi Chuxing, Tencent (0700), and Alibaba (9988) for failing to report earlier merger and acquisition deals for approval.

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