HONG KONG (Reuters) – ByteDance’s short video app Douyin said on Wednesday that it has held preliminary talks with Dalian Wanda Group over the conglomerate’s payments unit.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Wanda was in talks with prospective buyers include China’s ByteDance to sell its digital payments licence for about 1 billion yuan ($144 million). It added, however, that the price could be lower based on talks.
A spokesperson for Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, declined to provide further comment beyond acknowledging the preliminary talks. Wanda did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wanda has been trying to improve its liquidity as it has yet to receive a greenlight from Chinese regulators for a planned IPO of its Zhuhai Wanda Commercial Management Group Co unit in Hong Kong.
Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin, once China’s richest man, told an internal meeting last week that the IPO was facing difficulties, and that it would stop acquiring land and halt new property management projects in order to cut debt in the next two years, sources told Reuters.
Wanda bought its payments licence in 2014 from 99Bill in a deal that allowed visitors to Wanda’s venues, from department stores to cinemas, to pay online.
ByteDance launched a third-party payment service for Douyin in 2021 after acquiring another payment licence the previous year.
($1 = 6.9121 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Josh Ye and Clare Jim in Hong Kong)