Microsoft Still Pursuing TikTok Acquisition

After a weekend of negotiations between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Trump, the software giant says it plans to pursue an acquisition of TikTok “in a matter of weeks.”

“Microsoft appreciates the U.S. Government’s and President Trump’s personal involvement as it continues to develop strong security protections for the country,” the company stated on Sunday.

Citing national-security concerns, Trump and other government officials have voiced their uneasiness about TikTok, which is currently owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.

On Friday, Trump said a U.S. ban of the popular app was imminent, while sources toldBloomberg the President was ready to sign an order directing ByteDance to divest from TikTok.

Suggesting it’s now on the same page as Trump, Microsoft said 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.”

Together with ByteDance, Microsoft said it has already notified the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment about their negotiations.

Specifically, the two companies 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, which would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets.

Microsoft left open the possibility of inviting other American investors to participate on a minority basis in the purchase, but stressed it hopes to have the deal wrapped by September 15.

Under any deal, Microsoft is promising to make user security and privacy top priorities.

In particular, Microsoft said it would ensure that all private data belonging to TikTok’s U.S. users is “transferred to and remains in the United States.”

“To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred,” the company said.

Microsoft said a deal is not guaranteed, while noting it does not intend to provide further updates until a definitive outcome has been determined.

If and when a deal is reached, the price tag will be significant. A number of ByteDance investors seeking to take over TikTok valued the app at around $50 billion, Reuters recently reported.

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