O'Leary's Plan To Buy TikTok Would Likely Not Include The Algorithms

Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Leary Ventures and "Shark Tank" investor, reiterated on "Fox & Friends" Friday morning his intention to acquire the TikTok brand and 170 million of its users from ByteDance. He is putting together a syndicate to seal the deal.

Any deal for TikTok -- which PitchBook valued at about $220 billion in 2023 -- would likely exclude the algorithms.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would never sell the algorithms, O’Leary said.

The plan is to raise between $30 billion and $40 billion just for the brand and its users. Some have questioned whether TikTok or its parent company ByteDance own the algorithms.

The initial bid for the social media giant would start between $20 billion and $30 billion. The algorithms would bring the cost much higher if they were sold.



O’Leary estimates 5 million businesses use the platform. “These are my businesses -- Shark Tank guys in their 20s, 30s, and 40s,” O’Leary said. “Eighty percent of the people on TikTok know who I am.

“I think you need a steward to tell them a simple message,” O’Leary said, adding that he also wants all the data sitting on Oracle servers. “I guarantee you that if I buy this asset, the day I switch over, I will turn TikTok China into TikTok U.S.A.”

He vowed to bring in an American team and shut down the "Chinese back doors."

O'Leary is willing to start the bidding at $30 billion, although the social network is not TikTok unless an investor can reverse-engineer the technology.

Without the algorithms, there is no history of the users’ purchase behavior. 

O'Leary says he is willing to bring in a new team to rewrite how the platform works, but that would be figured into the purchase price.

He pointed to Twitter as a challenge. “The deal is going to require cooperation with the White House, whoever is in it,” he said.

These secret algorithms, proprietary information, is typically based on user intersections that include posts, videos, engagement and time spent on site. One user on Reddit who goes by the name of PeaceDuke_official with more than 44,000 TikTok followers wrote in a post what he believes drives the algorithms.

He described a metric TikTokers need to hit in order to become successful on the platform. It "varies based on video length, but for mine (3-5 minutes) TT seems to appreciate it if roughly 40% of viewers watch over a minute and 10%+ watch till the end. For shorter videos, these metrics are much harsher," he wrote.

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