ByteDance, the Chinese firm that owns TikTok, is starting a second buyback of stock options for employees this year at a higher price than the previous one to try to motivate staff amid slowing growth and uncertainty over a plan. to go public, some employees said.
ByteDance told them via email that those who qualified could apply for redemption of their restricted stock units (RSUs), ByteDance’s stock option program. It offered $155 per unit, up from the $142 price set in the buyback earlier this year, two of the employees said.
The higher price is intended to motivate staff by helping them monetize their holdings, they said, declining to be named as the information was confidential.
ByteDance, which has about 110,000 employees worldwide, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. It could not be immediately determined how many RSUs have been issued or how much ByteDance has set aside for buyback.
The company, one of the world’s most valuable private technology companies, has launched several incentive plans this year, including programs to grant stock options at a lower price, amid slowing revenue growth. , which fell to 70% last year from more than 100% a year earlier.
The economic slowdown in China, due in large part to tight COVID-19 restrictions, and Beijing’s regulatory measures on the tech sector have hurt the earnings and valuation prospects of many local tech companies.
After receiving the email from the company, some ByteDance employees told Reuters they were considering withdrawing some or all of their holdings as they believe it is a good price to sell given the general economic environment.
The 10-year-old company typically launches share option buybacks twice a year for employees, sources have said.
ByteDance had been exploring the possibility of holding an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, sources have told Reuters. But earlier this year, Chief Financial Officer Julie Gao told employees at an internal meeting that the company did not have a timetable for an IPO, according to people who attended the meeting.
The privately held company was recently valued at about $300 billion, or about $170 a share, on the secondary private equity market, down from the $400 billion high. dollars reached last year, according to sources.
The company also launched a share buyback last month that will allow it to spend up to $3 billion buying back shares from its investors, who valued the company at up to $300 billion.
With information from Reuters