China’s Toutiao Tried to Buy Reddit

Jinri Toutiao, the fast-growing $20 billion Chinese news and entertainment giant, tried to buy Reddit last year, according to people familiar with the offer. The previously unreported move reveals the Chinese company’s ambitions to become a global media juggernaut, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Chinese startup couldn’t reach a deal with Reddit’s shareholders, including Condé Nast, the people said. One reason was general skittishness among Reddit’s investors about selling to a Chinese internet company whose user and revenue numbers were tough to assess, according to one person. Another issue was the price, another person close to the situation said. Toutiao was offering private company stock, which can be hard for outsiders to value.

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Bytedance has been expanding its offerings beyond Toutiao. For example, the company runs an English-language news feed app called TopBuzz. In September, it announced plans to take its music video and social networking app, Tik Tok, to Indonesia and other Asian markets outside China.

—Yunan Zhang and Tom Dotan contributed to this article.

Lucy Chen and Hunter Walk commented on this article.
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