Microsoft in talks to buy ByteDance-owned TikTok: Report

WION Web Team New Delhi Aug 01, 2020, 09.31 PM(IST)

TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken Nov. 27, 2019 Photograph:( Reuters )

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The plan allows for another US company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the United States, the sources added.

Microsoft Corp is in talks to buy ByteDance-owned TikTok, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing a source.

The discussions between Microsoft and TikTok were first reported earlier on Friday by FOX Business, the Times said.

China's ByteDance has agreed to divest the US operations of TikTok completely in a bid to save a deal with the White House, after President Donald Trump said on Friday he had decided to ban the popular short-video app, Reuters report said quoting two people familiar with the matter said on Saturday.

US officials have said TikTok under its Chinese parent poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. ByteDance's concession will test whether Trump's threat to ban TikTok is a negotiating tactic or whether he is intent on cracking down on a social media app that has up to 80 million daily active users in the United States.

Trump told reporters onboard Air Force One late on Friday that he would issue an order for TikTok to be banned in the United States as early as Saturday.

ByteDance was previously seeking to keep a minority stake in the US business of TikTok, which the White House had rejected. Under the new proposed deal, ByteDance would exit completely and Microsoft Corp would take over TikTok in the United States, the sources said.

Some ByteDance investors that are based in the United States may be given the opportunity to take minority stakes in the business, the sources added. About 70% of ByteDance's outside investors come from the United States.

The White House declined to comment on whether Trump would accept ByteDance's concession, according to Reuters. 

Under ByteDance's new proposal, Microsoft will be in charge of protecting all US user data, the sources said. 

The plan allows for another US company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the United States, the sources added.

As relations between the United States and China deteriorate over trade, Hong Kong’s autonomy, cyber security and the spread of the novel coronavirus, TikTok has emerged as a flashpoint in the dispute between the world’s two largest economies.