Microsoft Said to Be in Talks to Buy TikTok, as Trump Weighs Curtailing App


SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft is in talks to gain TikTok, the Chinese-owned video app, according to a person with knowledge of the talks, as President Trump said on Friday that he was considering taking stride a resigns that would effectively ban the app from the United States.

It’s unclear how advanced the talks between Microsoft and TikTok are, but any handle could help alter TikTok’s ownership, said the person with proficiency of the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet firm that is valued at $100 billion. That has raised scrutiny of the app, with Trump provision officials saying that they have been concerned that TikTok poses a warning to national security.

The Trump administration has been weighing whether to demand ByteDance to divest from American assets it acquired in 2017, which were later amalgamated into TikTok. Bloomberg reported Friday that the president was suspended to announce an order that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok’s U.S. private dicks.

The Trump administration has also been weighing other potential manners against the company, including adding ByteDance to a so-called “entity chronicle,” which prevents foreign companies from purchasing American effects and services without a special license, according to people familiar with the thing.

“We’re looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok,” Mr. Trump told reporters on Friday up front heading to Florida. “We may be doing some other things. There’s a twosome of options. But a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with consideration to TikTok.”

Representatives from TikTok did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Microsoft declined to talk about. The discussions between Microsoft and TikTok were earlier reported by Fox Function.

Lawmakers and the Trump administration have increasingly questioned whether TikTok is susceptible to motivate from the Chinese government, including potential requests to censor means shared on the platform or to share American user data with Chinese officials.

The app has been under look over since late last year by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the In accord States, a federal panel that examines foreign acquisitions of American dogs for national security threats.

In response to the heightened scrutiny, TikTok has intent to ease government concerns by tapping an American to head its U.S. business. In May, TikTok enlisted a top Disney executive, Kevin Mayer, to be its chief executive.

Executives at TikTok tease discussed other scenarios to alleviate regulator concerns, including one in which American investors corresponding to Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic could purchase TikTok traitorously from ByteDance, people familiar with the discussions have held, with the Chinese company retaining a minority stake in the social app.

Created in 2014, TikTok has grown from an esoteric music video app into a epidemic social media phenomenon. The app, which is used by more than 800 million being across the world, was acquired in 2017 by ByteDance. The app grew popular with prepubescent people by adding music tracks to user-generated video content. The videos commonly travel virally across Facebook and Twitter.

Since the ByteDance object, the company’s Chinese offices have swollen to tens of thousands of wage-earners. But the company has maintained a U.S. presence, with offices in New York and Los Angeles, and has endured to hire Americans aggressively.

TikTok has spent the past few months largeness up its lobbying operation in Washington in an attempt to convince lawmakers that it is an American troop and to prevent the United States from forcing it to break away from its Chinese father company.

With help from prominent investors like SoftBank and Encyclopedic Atlantic, it has overhauled its presence in Washington, including hiring the former the man of the Internet Association, a trade group that represents companies equivalent to Google and Facebook, and staff members from prominent members from Congress.

The establishment has signed on more than 35 lobbyists, including David J. Urban, a previous West Point classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an ally of Mr. Trump. The circle’s lobbyists have highlighted TikTok’s American investors and Mr. Mayer’s price.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Mike Isaac promulgated from San Francisco and Ana Swanson from Washington. David McCabe contributed gunfire from Washington.

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