Ex-Dodger owner Frank McCourt forming investment group to make a bid for TikTok

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

I can, Frank McCourt said.

In Los Angeles, the name rings a bell. McCourt is the former Dodgers owner who took the team into bankruptcy 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 retains half-ownership of the parking lots surrounding the stadium.

He owns the storied French soccer club Olympique de Marseille, and the Los Angeles Marathon. He donated $200 million to what is now called the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He launched Project Liberty, an initiative to reform the Internet in the interest of serving “people, not platforms.”

Now, he says, he would like to buy TikTok.

The outrageously popular video app, part of the daily life of American teens 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 either sell or shut down its U.S. operations.

McCourt announced Tuesday that he plans to form an investment group to bid on TikTok, in a statement that said “McCourt and his partners are seizing this opportunity to return control and value back into the hands of individuals and provide Americans with a meaningful voice, choice, and stake in the future of the web.”

It is unclear when TikTok might be sold, if ever, and how many bidders there might be.

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

“On the other hand, they don’t get to really share in the value that’s created, and their data is scraped and 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 bid, including sources of financing.

Guggenheim Securities bills itself as “the investment banking and capital markets business of Guggenheim Partners.” The chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners: Mark Walter, the chairman of Guggenheim Baseball, the owner of the Dodgers and co-owner — with McCourt — of the Dodger Stadium parking lots.

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