Friday 9 October 2020 6:02 am

London investment firm Centricus makes surprise entry into Tiktok takeover race

A little-known British investment firm has reportedly emerged as a shock bidder for Tiktok as it looks to derail Oracle’s tie-up with the Chinese viral video app.

London-based Centricus Asset Management has been in negotiations with the chief executive of Tiktok’s parent company Bytedance for weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Read more: US judge temporarily blocks Trump’s Tiktok app store ban

The firm is said to be positioning itself as a back-up bid if Tiktok’s complex proposal to partner with Oracle for its US operations falls through.

The tie-up would see Oracle take over management of Tiktok’s US user data. The two sides are also said to be negotiating the sale of a stake in Tiktok’s US division.

Both companies have confirmed the planned partnership, but it is still subject to approval by both US and Chinese authorities.

Centricus was previously linked to the Tiktok takeover discussions in August, but was thought to have exited the race after the Oracle partnership was agreed.

The Mayfair-headquartered investment firm was founded just four years ago and played a key role in setting up Softbank’s $100bn Vision Fund.

It manages $27bn of assets and focuses on sectors including technology, financial services, and infrastructure.

According to the report, Centricus has partnered with Triller – a US video-sharing rival to Tiktok – for its bid.

The fund is said to have negotiated directly with Zhang Yiming, chief executive of Bytedance.

The Chinese tech group has been pushed into selling off Tiktok’s US operations after President Donald Trump threatened to ban the video-sharing app amid concerns over national security.

Read more: The clock is ticking for Oracle to make sense of the TikTok deal

Trump has stated that Oracle would be a “great company” to take over Tiktok.

However, the deal may still face a number of regulatory hurdles, while discussions are ongoing about exactly which parts of the business will be sold.