Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok acquisition

Published: 3 August 2020 - midnight

Microsoft has confirmed that it will continue negotiations over a potential move to acquire Chinese owned social media platform, TikTok.

TikTok is owned by Chinese firm Byte Dance and Microsoft has said that it hopes to conclude discussions over a potential deal by the 15th of September.

“Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok in the United States.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the US tech giant said in an online blog post.

TikTok has found its international growth stunted by the US’ government’s policy of restricting Chinese owned enterprises in the telecommunications space. As the US continues to hit back against Chinese technological dominance by a series of sanctions against its key players (namely Huawei and ZTE), an asset sale to a US firm like Microsoft would allow TikTok to sidestep increased scrutiny over the way it uses its customers’ data.

Last week, US President Donald Trump said that he was prepared to ban TikTok from the US.

“The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.

“This new structure would build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections. The operating model for the service would be built to ensure transparency to users as well as appropriate security oversight by governments in these countries,” the Microsoft statement read.

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