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UAE spy leader invests in TikTok parent company at discount amid scrutiny
By Christopher Hutton,
A n investment fund owned by the United Arab Emirates' spymaster invested in TikTok's parent company as the popular social media app faces the threat of a ban in the U.S.
G42, a UAE investment firm owned by royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, acquired a $100 million-plus stake in ByteDance from existing investors over the last months, according to Bloomberg . The company was valued at $220 billion in the deal, a decline from the $300 billion valuation that ByteDance set during a recent share buyback program.
The decline in valuation reflects investors' uncertainty in the company due to increased legislative pressure on the app in the United States. It's possible that TikTok's valuation might have been hurt even more in recent days by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank , which raised fears about tech companies in the United States and China.
G42's portfolio includes investments in cloud computing and vaccines. Tahnoon has also worked to expand his investments in the emerging tech industry with his $10 billion 42XFund.
Tahnoon is the United Arab Emirates' security chief and oversees the country's intelligence operations.
ByteDance faces increased pressure from Washington as lawmakers present several bills that could threaten a ban on TikTok in the United States over national security and privacy concerns.
The company has voiced support for Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune's (R-SD) RESTRICT Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that would give the Commerce Department additional powers to regulate and restrict companies based in China or other foreign nations of concern. It would not lead to an outright ban on TikTok but would allow the department to do so if it deemed it wise. The White House has voiced support for the RESTRICT Act, as have more than a dozen co-sponsors, making it the most likely bill to pass Congress.