HONG KONG: Bytedance Ltd, China’s most valuable startup, has secured a US$1.335bil syndicated loan from a group dominated by Wall Street banks, according to people familiar with the matter.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc led the deal alongside Bank of China Ltd and CMB Wing Lung Bank Ltd, said the people who are not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified.
Bytedance, which operates the hugely popular apps TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin, declined to comment on the loan.
The deal marks Bytedance’s debut in the syndicated loan market and underscores its growing clout in attracting some of the biggest international lenders.
Late last year, the company got a US$3bil funding from SoftBank Group Corp and other major investors at a valuation of US$75bil, cementing its position as the world’s biggest privately backed startup.
TikTok and Douyin are two of the fastest-growing apps in the world, and rely on users recording clips typically set to music.
The TikTok app has been installed more than one billion times via the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower.
The deal is also a rare case of a young startup winning a loan of this size from Asia’s syndicated loan market, where banks are typically more comfortable with lending to mature brick-and-mortar companies.
Other top-tier lenders for the syndicated loan include Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc, Citigroup Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and UBS Group AG, the people said. China Everbright Bank Co and China Merchants Bank Co also joined.
The owner of Chinese news aggregator Toutiao offered an interest margin of 280 basis points on top of the London interbank offered rate for its debut syndicated loan, the people added. — Bloomberg