TikTok rival Triller files to go public on Nasdaq via ‘the largest creator IPO in history’

Mahi de Silva, Triller's Chief Executive Officer

It’s been a while since we reported anything about Triller going public. But a lot’s been going on.

In December, Triller announced that it (via Triller Hold Co LLC) planned to float by merging with US entity SeaChange, a publicly-traded company focused on digital advertising.

The resultant company from that merger – ‘TrillerVerz Corp’ – was supposedly going to carry a valuation of $5 billion and trade on the Nasdaq.

Triller said it expected the whole shebang to be wrapped up by the end of Q1 2022.

But… it didn’t happen.

A couple of weeks ago, on June 14, Triller quietly confirmed that it and SeaChange had “mutually agreed to terminate [our] Merger Agreement… as it is no longer possible to complete the merger prior to its termination date of June 30”.

Triller’s dream of hitting the public markets wasn’t over, however.

A few hours after confirming the scrapping of its SeaChange merger, US-based Triller announced it would be going public on the Nasdaq all by itself, via a Direct Listing.

The company said that “global macroeconomic conditions” had resulted in its decision to pursue a direct listing and to axe the SeaChange merger, and that it expected its new, solo Nasdaq flotation to be approved by Q3 2022.

Mahi de Silva, Triller’s Chief Executive Officer, commented at the time: “The current market demands clear and disciplined thinking. After much deliberation, Triller has determined that the best course of action is a direct listing for Triller.

“A Triller IPO is a cleaner transaction, allowing us greater control of our destiny. [This] news is a clear commitment to our effort to build the world’s best platform for creators; artists, influencers, athletes, thought-leaders, and brands.

“The Triller IPO will be the largest creator IPO in history.”

Now, Triller has taken things to the next level.

The company has today (June 30) announced in a very short statement that it has “confidentially submitted” a draft S-1 filing with the SEC in the states “relating to the proposed public listing of [Triller’s] Class A common stock”.

Other details are thin on the ground (hence the “confidential” submission), but Triller adds: “The public listing is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”

Interestingly, the entity that has logged the S-1 filing with the SEC today is Triller Inc. not Triller Hold Co LLC (which six-and-a-bit months ago announced it was floating on the NASDAQ via the SeaChange merger), nor Triller Holdings LLC (which announced the new direct listing plan earlier this month).

Triller has executed a number of intriguing acquisitions in the past couple of years, and now stands as the parent company to entities such as Amplify.ai, a customer engagement platform; FITE, a PPV, AVOD, and SVOD streaming site; and Thuzio which runs B2B premium influencer events and experiences.

Triller is also the owner of VERZUZ, the live-stream music platform launched by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, which Triller acquired in March last year.

In April this year, Triller acquired Fangage, which it describes as an “all-in-one solution for creators to reach and engage all their fans around the globe directly, host and sell exclusive content and offer unique membership and subscription packages”.

Fangage was founded by Dutch DJ, producer, and creator, Sam Feldt.

In March, Triller announced it had acquired influencer marketing software platform, Julius, for an undisclosed fee.

Today’s news comes in the same week that the Commissioner of the FCC in the US, Brendan Carr, called for TikTok’s removal from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Carr tweeted an open letter on Tuesday (June 28) addressed to Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook, requesting the removal of the app from their app stores.

Echoing the Trump administration’s data security concerns, Carr writes that “TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface.”

He adds: “It is not just an app for sharing funny videos and memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing.”

Carr claimed that “at its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data”.

He continued: “Indeed TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints ­– which researchers have said might be used in unrelated facial recognition technology – and voiceprints.

“It collects location data as well as draught messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images and videos that are stored on the device’s clipboard.

“The list of personal and sensitive data collected goes on from there. This should come as no surprise, however. Within its own borders the PRC has developed some of the most invasive and omnipresent surveillance capabilities in the world to maintain authoritarian control.”Music Business Worldwide