Microsoft is in talks to get TikTok, as the U.S. is considering banning the app

Microsoft Corp. conducts MSFT 0.54% advanced talks to acquire US operations for China-owned video application TikTok, according to people familiar with the discussions, in a deal that would be a franchise of White House pressure and make the software giant a major player in social media.

Selling to Microsoft, potentially multi-billionaires, would be a win for TikTok and parent company Bytedance Ltd. , As executives feared the U.S. government would force device manufacturers to take TikTok out of their app stores, according to another person familiar with the matter.

For the Trump administration, selling TikTok would also eliminate potential legal challenges - and a general backlash - that would have occurred if the hugely popular app was forced to shut down millions of American smartphones.

The deal could be completed by Monday, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks include representatives from Microsoft, BitDance and the White House. The talks are smooth, and a deal may not meet.

On his way back from Florida, President Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he did not favor a deal to allow an American company to purchase US TikTok operations.

Trump said, "Regarding TikTok, we are banning them from the United States." "Well, I have this power. I can do this with one or another executive order," he said, referring to emergency economic powers.

Bytedance looked at a wider range of options. However, the White House pressed Bytedance to sell US TikTok operations to an American company, one person said.

Evaluation cannot be learned. It can be difficult to place a price tag on a company under pressure from governments around the world but it is also growing rapidly.

News of the deal talks, reported by Fox Business earlier, came as the US was wrapping up a security review that was expected to recommend Bytedance selling TikTok.

US officials have expressed fears that TikTok could transfer the data it collects from Americans to the authoritarian government in China. TikTok has said that he will never do that.

In a statement posted on the Internet this week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who was set away from Walt Disney Co., said Earlier this year, the company was committed to transparency in how data is collected and shared.

He said: "TikTok has become the last target, but we are not the enemy."

A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

For Redmond, Washington, the software giant, the TikTok deal will be the most agile acquisition since its purchase of LinkedIn in 2016 of more than $ 26 billion and will instantly make it a formidable competitor to the social media audience Facebook Inc. And YouTube.

It was probably Facebook and Alphabet Inc. Mother on YouTube has been two steps in recent years, but they face tough regulatory scrutiny, including whether past acquisitions have hindered competition.

TikTok, famous for its sexy dance and lip sync, has soared this year amid the epidemic. About 315 million users downloaded TikTok in the first quarter of the year, the largest number of app downloads ever in a single quarter, according to research firm Sensor Tower, bringing the total to more than 2.2 billion users globally.

The United States historically accounted for about a tenth of TikTok users. In addition to concerns that TikTok could collect data about Americans, U.S. officials are concerned that the app can be used to spread Chinese advertising and that platform administrators can monitor content to please Beijing.

The TikTok review focused on ByteDance's 2017 acquisition of a similar video-sharing platform called, a Shanghai-based service that has built a strong user base in the United States. After the acquisition, the brand of was changed to TikTok, and users wanting to share videos could continue to do so on the TikTok platform.

ByteDance, whose secondary shares recently valued at $ 150 billion, are big American investors like Coatue Management and Sequoia Capital as supporters.

The U.S. Foreign Investment Commission began its investigation of TikTok last year, amid concerns from members of Congress and others about the data it might collect.

In a statement on Friday, Representative Michael McCall (R., Texas) welcomed the possible separation of TikTok from Chinese ownership, but said, "More needs to be done in all areas to separate US consumers from the technology and applications controlled by the CPC."

"It's not just about CCP collecting data from unwanted Americans on TikTok or similar apps; Mr. McCall said, they also control what content users see.

The United States has increasingly focused on deals that endanger U.S. citizens and their privacy, a focus that Congress mandated in the 2018 law.

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