Why ex-Dodger owner Frank wants to make an offer for TikTok

The anguished wails have gone out from millions of anguished teenagers in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Who, these teenagers cry, can save us?

I can do that, said Frank McCourt.

In Los Angeles, the name rings a bell. McCourt is the former Dodgers owner who bankrupted the team in 2011 and then sold it for a billion-dollar profit.

He is the force behind the proposed gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, where he will keep half of the parking spaces around the stadium.

He owns the legendary French football club Olympique de Marseille and the Los Angeles Marathon. He donated $200 million to what is now the McCourt School for Public Policy at Georgetown University. He launched Project Liberty, an initiative to reform the internet in the interests of “people, not platforms.”

Now, he says, he'd like to buy TikTok.

The insanely popular video app, which is part of the daily lives of American teenagers and many adults as well, is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. The company is suing to block legislation that would force ByteDance to sell or close its U.S. operations.

McCourt announced on Tuesday that he plans to form an investment group to bid for TikTok, in a statement that said: “McCourt and his partners are seizing this opportunity to put control and value back in the hands of individuals and give Americans meaningful voice, choice and to contribute to the future of the internet.”

It's unclear when TikTok might be sold, and how many bidders there might be.

“TikTok presents the best and worst of the internet,” says McCourt told the website Semafor. “It connects 170 million people and allows them to be creative and build things, enjoy things and do things.

“On the other hand, they can't really share in the value that is created, and their data is stolen and shipped to China.”

A bid for TikTok could cost $100 billion, according to Semafor. McCourt said he has hired Guggenheim Securities to advise him on the offer, including sources of financing.

Guggenheim Effects bills itself as “the investment banking and capital markets business of Guggenheim Partners.The CEO of Guggenheim Partners: Mark Walter, the chairman of Guggenheim Baseball, the owner of the Dodgers and co-owner – along with McCourt – of the Dodger Stadium parking lots.

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