Among the dedicated TikTokers at The Information’s Creator Economy Summit, a distant storm cloud is looming: what if TikTok really does get banned in the US?
While TikTok has touted its Project Texas plan to further separate the US company’s operations from its Chinese parent ByteDance, the US government has also proposed that ByteDance sell TikTok to an American company.
Marc D’Amelio, the father of TikTok superstars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio, said he considered buying TikTok. In March, he tweeted: “I’m putting together a group of investors to look to buy TikTok.”
The D’Amelios have built a media empire with their own retail brands and a venture capital firm, but it’s a bold statement to propose buying a platform estimated to be worth at least $60 billion. As a whole, ByteDance is worth about $220 billion.
When asked about this proposal on the Summit stage by The Information reporter Kaya Yurieff, D’Amelio said it is no longer on the table. That’s no surprise: Raising billions of dollars casually is hard, and even if it were possible, China reminded the US that it can’t really force a sale. But when the patriarch of TikTok’s “first family” was pressed about this proposal, he revealed that he legitimately considered the idea.
“It’s very expensive,” D’Amelio conceded to Yurieff. But the idea went a little further than a random tweet. “We’ve raised a lot of money for D’Amelio Brands and we have the connections to do it,” he said. Ultimately though, D’Amelio believes the best possible outcome is for the US to not comply with any kind of legislation banning TikTok.
D’Amelio Brands launched in September with $6 million in seed funding, which is slightly below TikTok’s price. The company may have raised more capital than it has yet announced, but not enough to seriously pursue that purchase, which is why D’Amelio sought other investors.
So while Charli D’Amelio might be the queen of TikTok, it doesn’t sound like her family could literally buy the app.