Among dedicated TikTokers at the Information’s Creator Economy Summit, a far-off storm cloud looms: What if TikTok really does get banned in the U.S.?
While TikTok has touted its Project Texas plan to further separate the American company’s operations from its Chinese parent ByteDance, the U.S. government also proposed making ByteDance sell TikTok to an American company.
Marc D’Amelio, the father of TikTok superstars Dixie and Charli D’Amelio, said that he considered buying TikTok. In March, he tweeted, “I am putting together a group of investors to pursue the purchase of TikTok.”
The D’Amelios have created a media empire with their own retail brands and 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 around $220 billion.
When the Information reporter Kaya Yurieff asked about this proposal onstage at the Summit, D’Amelio said that it’s not quite on the table anymore. That’s not a surprise — it’s hard to just casually raise billions of dollars, and even if it were possible, China reminded the U.S. that it can’t actually force a sale. But when the patriarch of TikTok’s “first family” was pressed on this proposal, he revealed that he did legitimately consider the idea.
“It’s very expensive,” D’Amelio conceded to Yurieff. But the idea went a bit 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 thinks the best possible outcome is for the U.S. to not follow through on any sort of legislation banning TikTok.
D’Amelio Brands launched in September with $6 million in seed funding, which falls just a bit short of the price of TikTok. Perhaps the company has raised more capital that it hasn’t announced yet, but not enough to seriously pursue that purchase, which is why D’Amelio looked for other investors.
So, while Charli D’Amelio might be the queen of TikTok, it doesn’t seem her family can literally buy the app.