In an unexpected combination, Triller — the TikTok-like social video app that claims to have millions of users — plans to become a publicly traded company through a merger with SeaChange International, a provider of video-streaming and ad technologies.
SeaChange will change its name to “TrillerVerz Corp.” when the reverse merger closes. Without explaining exactly how, the companies said the value of the new entity would be approximately $5 billion. With the announcement, SeaChange stock jumped more than 50%, pushing the company’s market capitalization to more than $130 million.
The boards of both Triller and SeaChange have approved the proposed merger, which they expect to close in the first quarter of 2022 subject to closing conditions including regulatory and stockholder approvals.
By merging with the publicly traded SeaChange, Triller is able to bypass the usual process for launching an initial public offering. It’s similar to combining with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), another popular vehicle for companies looking to go public.
Upon closing, the combined company will be led by Triller CEO Mahi de Silva, who will also become chairman. Peter Aquino, president and CEO of SeaChange, will join the TrillerVerz executive team. The ticker symbol is expected to change from “SEAC” currently listed on Nasdaq to the new ticker symbol “ILLR.”
“We are thrilled to announce this important milestone of TrillerVerz’s plans to enter the public market,” de Silva said. “In our short history, we have evolved from a disruptive social media platform and creator of content to one of the world’s most successful platforms where creators, commerce and culture meet.”
TrillerVerz plans to “diversify its revenue streams by expanding its global footprint and investment in new growth opportunities across the creator economy and emerging technologies,” and will “pursue a robust acquisition strategy,” the companies said.
TrillerVerz owns the Triller app, which the company claims reaches more than 350 million users worldwide (although its past claims about the size of its user base have been disputed). Triller has clashed over music licensing deals including with Universal Music Group and the National Music Publishers’ Association.
Earlier this year, Triller acquired Verzuz, the livestream music platform launched by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland. The company also owns Amplify.ai, a customer engagement platform; Fite, a sports and entertainment pay-per-view streaming site; and Thuzio, which produces influencer events and experiences.
With the merger, TrillerVerz said it “believes it is positioned to become a leading AI-powered social media platform for content, creators and commerce.”
“TrillerVerz expects it will create a leading voice on the Web3.0 movement and embrace the power of decentralized systems to enable greater participation in the multi-hundred-billion-dollar creator economy,” the company said in a press release.
In 2019, Proxima Media, owned by Ryan Kavanaugh (former head of twice-bankrupt studio Relativity Media) and Bobby Sarnevesht, bought a controlling stake in Triller. The company had raised $33 million to date from investors including Proxima and Pegasus Tech Ventures, according to Crunchbase.
Under the proposed Triller-SeaChange merger, the companies anticipate that TrillerVerz will raise up to $250 million through a debt offering of convertible notes prior to the closing.