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Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary Eyes TikTok Takeover: A Vision for an American Revamp

In a striking move that’s sending ripples through the tech world, Kevin O’Leary, famously known as “Mr. Wonderful” from Shark Tank, has thrown his hat in the ring to acquire TikTok. This comes in the wake of the U.S. House of Representatives passing a bill that puts TikTok’s operations in jeopardy unless its Chinese parent company, Bytedance, divests its stake. O’Leary’s proposition is not just about ownership but also about a transformative vision for one of the world’s largest social media platforms.

During a conversation with TheStreet, O’Leary outlined why he believes he’s the ideal candidate to take over TikTok, emphasizing the platform’s vast user base of 170 million in the U.S., including 5 million small businesses. These businesses alone pour about $9 billion annually into advertising on the platform, a domain where O’Leary sees himself as a staunch supporter. Given the regulatory landscape, O’Leary opines that major tech giants like Meta or Google would face significant hurdles in acquiring TikTok due to antitrust concerns, making an independent bid like his more feasible.

One of the most intriguing aspects of O’Leary’s bid is his valuation of TikTok. While many speculate the price tag could hit $100 billion, O’Leary is skeptical that Bytedance would include TikTok’s powerful algorithm in the sale, primarily due to Chinese regulatory barriers. Without this algorithm, O’Leary estimates TikTok’s value closer to $40 billion. He plans to lead a syndicate of investors, ensuring no single entity holds more than a 10% stake, to fund this acquisition.

O’Leary’s strategy for Day One post-acquisition focuses on maintaining continuity for TikTok’s user base while transitioning the platform from “TikTok, China” to “TikTok, USA.” This includes assembling a top-tier management team ready to develop a new algorithm from scratch, ensuring users experience no disruption in service. His ultimate goal? To transform TikTok into a platform that embodies the spirit of American entrepreneurship, much like Shark Tank itself.

With a vision to empower small businesses and a clear plan to navigate the complex geopolitical landscape, Kevin O’Leary’s bid for TikTok is more than just a business acquisition; it’s a bid to reshape the digital marketplace. Whether he can turn this vision into reality remains to be seen, but if anyone’s up for the challenge, it’s Mr. Wonderful.