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ByteDance Offloads Stake In Josh Parent VerSe, Exits At 56% Discount

ByteDance Offloads Stake In Josh Parent VerSe, Exits At 56% Discount

The TikTok owner sold its stake in VerSe via a secondary share sale to existing investors Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)

ByteDance reportedly sold more than 1,39,774 shares to OTPP and over 162,750 shares to CPPIB in a deal pegged at $102 Mn

According to reports, ByteDance should have received close to $232 Mn for a cumulative total of 302,524 shares based on VerSe’s valuation of $5 Bn during its previous funding round

Chinese internet giant ByteDance has reportedly exited VerSe Innova,tions, the parent company of vernacular news aggregator Dailyhunt and short-video app Josh, at a discount of 56%.

The TikTok owner sold its stake in VerSe via a secondary deal to existing investors which included Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Moneycontrol reported. Under a secondary transaction, the money acquired from a transaction goes to the seller and not the company.

ByteDance reportedly sold more than 1,39,774 shares to OTPP and over 1,62,750 shares to CPPIB in a deal which was pegged at $102 Mn. VerSe had raised $805 Mn, at a valuation of $5 Bn, in April this year. According to the report, ByteDance should have received close to $232 Mn for the 3,02,524 shares at the previous $5 Bn valuation. 

Earlier this month, VerSe confirmed that the Chinese player would exit the startup. “We at VerSe Innovation confirm that ByteDance has fully exited our cap table. We are probably amongst the few unicorns in the country with 0% Chinese shareholding on our cap table,” a VerSe Innovation spokesperson had told Inc42

The move comes amidst a flurry of developments surrounding ByteDance. As per reports, the company is in talks with the Hiranandani Group to re-enter the Indian market. The deal will allow ByteDance to leverage the Group’s Yotta’s data centre to store Indian user data in the country, making it compliant with local mandates.

The company’s exit from VerSe comes amidst a growing crackdown on Chinese apps. Rising geopolitical tensions between India and China have made Indian founders wary of being linked with Chinese investors or startups. Since June 2020, the Centre has banned 277 apps linked to China. 

VerSe operates news aggregation platform Dailyhunt and short-video platform Josh. Dailyhunt claims to have more than 350 Mn monthly users and offers content in 15 languages. Josh, on the other hand, claims to have 150 Mn monthly active users (MAUs).

VerSe competes with the likes of Inshorts and Feedly in the news aggregation vertical, while Moj, ShareChat, and Chingari are among its rivals in the short-video segment.