Microsoft in talks to acquire TikTok, say reports

Last week MBW brought you three good reasons why it might make sense for Apple to buy TikTok – the short-form video app now coming under increasing pressure from President Donald Trump’s administration over its alleged connections to the Chinese government.

Turns out it might be another US tech giant who steps up to acquire the platform.

A number of credible reports are emerging today (July 31) that Microsoft is exploring a possible acquisition of TikTok, and is in talks with the app’s owner Bytedance.

The New York Times, Bloomberg and Fox Business have all run the story of Microsoft’s interest, citing their own sources. Fox’s Charles Gasparino notes that his sources in the investment banking world suggest Microsoft is “looking at it”.

Gasparino tweeted that he “can’t guarantee a purchase but this thing [ie. TikTok] is being shopped and one of the stops has been Microsoft”.

Meanwhile, in a separate story, Bloomberg reports that US President Trump is set to order Bytedance – TikTok’s Chinese parent company – to sell the app’s US operation or face a ban in the market.

Trump’s decision reportedly follows a national security investigation of TikTok.

“We are looking at TikTok; we may be banning TikTok,” Trump told reporters at the White House earlier today. “We are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”

Fox’s Gasparino also said that his own sources suggest the White House is “deeply concerned” about a potential purchase by Microsoft, especially over whether any Chinese investors would retain a stake in TikTok’s US operations.

He adds: “[E]xpect a full and total review before any purchase is agreed to by Microsoft or another company.”

According to a Bloomberg report in May, ByteDance’s valuation on private markets had spiralled above $100bn.

TikTok has repeatedly denied accusations that it is passing user information to – or controlled in any way by –  the Chinese government.

Theo Bertram, TikTok’s head of Public Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told the BBC on July 20:  “The suggestion that we are in any way under the thumb of the Chinese government is completely and utterly false.”Music Business Worldwide

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