Microsoft, TikTok to Continue Talks; Trump Gives App’s Chinese Owner 45 Days to Reach Deal to Sell
Microsoft Corp said Sunday it would continue talks to acquire popular short-video app TikTok from Chinese internet giant ByteDance. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to give ByteDance 45 days to negotiate the sale, two people familiar with the matter said Sunday.
Microsoft, which is aiming to conclude talks by Sept. 15, released a statement following a conversation between CEO Satya Nadella and Trump. It said it would ensure that all of the private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains 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,” Microsoft said in a statement.
The company added there was no certainty a deal would be reached.
The ByteDance-Microsoft negotiations will be overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a U.S. government panel that has the right to block any agreement, the two sources added.
ByteDance, Microsoft and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that Trump would take action soon.
“President Trump has said ‘enough’ and we’re going to fix it and so he will take action in the coming days with respect to a broad array of national security risks that are presented by software connected to the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ABC on Sunday that the Committee on Foreign Investment on the United States “agrees that TikTok cannot stay in the current format because it risks sending back information on 100 million Americans.”
Over the weekend several Republican senators said they backed a plan for ByteDance to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok.
Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said on Twitter that a divestment “and purchase by U.S. company is win-win.”
Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican who chairs the Commerce Committee, added that “tight security measures need to be part of any deal in order to protect consumer data and ensure no foreign access.”
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said on Twitter “if the company & data can be purchased & secured by a trusted U.S. company that would be a positive & acceptable outcome.”
On Saturday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the “right answer” to address security concerns about TikTok would be to “have an American company like Microsoft take over TikTok. Win-win. Keeps competition alive and data out of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”