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ShareChat in talks with Sequoia, others to raise up to $200 million: sources

NEW DELHI Indian content-sharing platform ShareChat is in early-stage talks with U.S.-based Sequoia Capital and some other investors to raise up to $200 million, which could value the company at over $1 billion, three sources aware of the matter told Reuters.

ShareChat has appointed JPMorgan to advise on the new fund raising which it expects to complete before the end of the year, said the sources, who declined to be named as the talks were private.

The discussions come as Indian apps such as ShareChat are seeing a popularity surge after New Delhi in June banned 59 Chinese origin apps including ByteDance’s TikTok following a border clash between the two countries.

ShareChat, in which Twitter last year invested an undisclosed amount, declined to comment. It has 140 million monthly active users in India.

JPMorgan declined to comment, and a spokeswoman for Sequoia in India did not respond to Reuters questions.

ShareChat allows users to post content in 15 Indian languages and after TikTok was banned, it launched a similar short-video sharing app named Moj which has clocked up more than 50 million downloads so far.

The money raised by ShareChat will be used to grow its video app further, bring more content creators to its platform and raise its marketing spend, said the first source.

“Investor interest in the company (ShareChat) is strong and 2020 may end up being their best year,” the source added.

ShareChat is in the process of completing a separate, smaller fund raise of $50-$70 million, mainly from existing investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners, the second source said.

Lightspeed did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Other home-grown TikTok alternatives such as Chingari and Mitron are also finding favour with users in India. Facebook’s Instagram also last month introduced a new video sharing feature called “Reels” on its platform in India.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Tech

Microsoft says in talks to buy TikTok's U.S. operations from China's ByteDance

BEIJING/SHANGHAI Microsoft Corp said it will push ahead with talks to acquire the U.S. operations of Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok, a potential blockbuster deal that could re-shape the social media industry and further inflame crumbling U.S.-China relations.

The U.S. tech giant formally declared its interest on Sunday after President Donald Trump reversed course on a planned ban of Tiktok and gave the two firms to 45 days to come to a deal.

The proposed acquisition of parts of TikTok, which boasts 100 million U.S. users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc and Snap Inc.

Microsoft, which also owns professional social media network LinkedIn, is also seeking to buy TikTok’s Canadian, Australian and New Zealand interests.

ByteDance has not publicly confirmed the news. But in an internal letter to staff on Monday seen by Reuters, the company’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said the firm had started talks with a tech company that was not identified.

The letter also said ByteDance did not agree with the stance taken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that it must fully divest TikTok’s U.S. operations.

“We disagree with this CFIUS conclusion,” the letter said but added: “…we understand the decision in the current macro environment.”

ByteDance did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump had said on Friday he was planning a ban amid concerns that its Chinese ownership represents a national security risk because of the personal data it handles.

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He only agreed to allow Microsoft to negotiate a deal if it could secure a deal in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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ByteDance says preliminary talks with a tech firm over TikTok have started -staff letter

ByteDance says preliminary talks with a tech firm over TikTok have started -staff letter

TikTok owner ByteDance said on Monday that the company had initiated preliminary talks with a tech company to help it continue offering the short video app in the United States, a source said citing an internal company letter.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: August 3, 2020, 12:25 PM IST

BEIJING/SHANGHAI TikTok owner ByteDance said on Monday that the company had initiated preliminary talks with a tech company to help it continue offering the short video app in the United States, a source said citing an internal company letter.

President Donald Trump only agreed to allow Microsoft Corp to negotiate the acquisition of popular short-video app TikTok if it could secure a deal in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The move represents an about-face for Trump and prompted the U.S. tech giant to declare its interest in the blockbuster social media deal that could further inflame U.S.-China relations.

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ByteDance did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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ByteDance says preliminary talks with a tech firm over TikTok have started – staff letter

ByteDance says preliminary talks with a tech firm over TikTok have started - staff letter

TikTok owner ByteDance said on Monday that the company had initiated preliminary talks with a tech company to help it continue offering the short video app in the United States, a source said citing an internal company letter.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: August 3, 2020, 12:24 PM IST

BEIJING/SHANGHAI TikTok owner ByteDance said on Monday that the company had initiated preliminary talks with a tech company to help it continue offering the short video app in the United States, a source said citing an internal company letter.

President Donald Trump only agreed to allow Microsoft Corp to negotiate the acquisition of popular short-video app TikTok if it could secure a deal in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The move represents an about-face for Trump and prompted the U.S. tech giant to declare its interest in the blockbuster social media deal that could further inflame U.S.-China relations.

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ByteDance did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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Microsoft to continue talks to buy TikTok from ByteDance

Microsoft to continue talks to buy TikTok from ByteDance

Microsoft Corp said on Sunday that it would continue discussions to acquire popular shortvideo app TikTok from Chinese internet giant ByteDance, and that it was aiming to conclude the negotiations by Sept. 15.

  • Reuters
  • Last Updated: August 3, 2020, 7:52 AM IST

Microsoft Corp said on Sunday that it would continue discussions to acquire popular short-video app TikTok from Chinese internet giant ByteDance, and that it was aiming to conclude the negotiations by Sept. 15.

The company made the statement following a conversation between is CEO Satya Nadella and U.S. President Donald Trump. It said it would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” Microsoft said in a statement.

The company added that there was no certainty a deal would be reached.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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Microsoft talks to buy TikTok's U.S. operations spurs ire in China

BEIJING/HONG KONG A potential shotgun wedding to Microsoft Corp for TikTok’s U.S. operations provoked an outcry on Chinese social media as well as criticism from a prominent Chinese investor in TikTok owner ByteDance.

The U.S. tech giant formally declared its interest on Sunday after President Donald Trump, who has cited national security risks posed by the Chinese-owned short video app, reversed course on a planned ban and gave the two firms 45 days to come to a deal.

The proposed acquisition of parts of TikTok, which boasts 100 million U.S. users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc and Snap Inc .

Microsoft which owns the social media network LinkedIn for professional workers, is also seeking to buy TikTok’s Canadian, Australian and New Zealand interests.

ByteDance has not publicly confirmed the sale talks. But in an internal letter to staff on Monday seen by Reuters, the company’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said the firm had started talks with a tech company it did not identify to clear the way “for us to continue offering the TikTok app in the U.S.”

But clinching a deal – potentially worth billions of dollars and a lightning rod for crumbling U.S-China relations – that will satisfy all parties will be a tall order.

“A forced deal under Washington’s shotgun could open up for endless litigations if it should result (in) an unfavorable outcome to existing private shareholders,” said Fred Hu, chairman of Primavera Capital Group, an investor in ByteDance and one of China’s best known private equity groups.

Hu said Microsoft was a credible buyer but questioned how selling large parts of TikTok’s operations at such an early stage of its growth could ever be a good deal for ByteDance.

“It absolutely makes no sense. Bytedance is an innocent victim of the mad politics and mad geopolitics. It is a sad outcome for Bytedance, for entrepreneurial capitalism, and for the future of global commerce,” he said.

Tech bankers in Asia said investment banks working on the deal would have to be careful not to antagonize Trump.

“This is not a standard M&A situation…this is hard to predict,” said one senior banker with a U.S bank in Hong Kong, saying that it would be a question of how to structure a deal in a way that would keep Washington happy.

Zhang’s letter to staff also said ByteDance did not agree with the stance taken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinizes deals for national security risks, that it must fully divest TikTok’s U.S. operations.

“We disagree with this CFIUS conclusion,” the letter said but added: “…we understand the decision in the current macro environment.”

ByteDance did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

The Chinese government declined to comment specifically on the Washington’s move to force a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations.

The United States has been “stretching the concept of national security”, presuming that companies are guilty without evidence, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a briefing after being asked about U.S. actions against Chinese software companies.

The topic “ByteDance has agreed to divest TikTok’s U.S. operations” was one of the most discussed subjects on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform on Monday, with over 920 million views.

Some commentators criticized ByteDance, saying it has not shown as much backbone as Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], also in the crosshairs of U.S.-China tensions and now on a U.S. trade blacklist.

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“(ByteDance) kneeled down so fast that it didn’t even wait for the Chinese government to retaliate,” said one comment that was ‘liked’ over 5,000 times.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Acquire SoftBank-owned Chip Maker ARM For $32 Billion

Image for Representation

Image for Representation

Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: August 1, 2020, 11:05 AM IST

US chip-maker Nvidia is reportedly in advance talks to acquire SoftBank-owned UK chip company ARM in a cash-and-stock deal worth at least $32 billion. According to a report in the Financial Times on Friday citing sources, the talks began after “Nvidia approached SoftBank, which has been pursuing a series of other asset sales, about a potential acquisition”. The proposed deal includes “both cash and stock and that it valued ARM at above the $32bn price that SoftBank paid for the business in 2016”. Both Nvidia and ARM did not comment on the report. The British chip designer powers major mobile processor from companies like Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and Huawei.

Apple last month confirmed its break up with Intel chips for ARM chips in its Mac desktops, announcing it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Buying ARM would consolidate graphics giant Nvidia’s position at the centre of the semiconductor industry. SoftBank bought ARM for $31 billion in 2016. Microsoft makes an ARM-based Surface laptop and a version of Windows designed for ARM. According to The Verge, Nvidia would make an interesting owner for ARM. While Nvidia is the leader for GPUs, it has little to do with CPU design or mobile hardware.

Nvidia said this week it delivered the world’s fastest Artificial Intelligence (AI) training performance among commercially available chips, a feat that will help big enterprises tackle the most complex challenges in AI, data science and scientific computing. Nvidia A100 GPUs and DGX SuperPOD systems were declared the world’s fastest commercially available products for AI training, according to MLPerf benchmarks. The A100 Tensor Core GPU demonstrated the fastest performance per accelerator on all eight MLPerf benchmarks.



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