Seattle Tech giant, Microsoft said on Sunday they spoke with President Trump about acquiring trendy social app TikTok — and Trump gave its parent company ByteDance 45 days to discuss the acquisition. The deal could run in the tens of billions, according to Fox Business.
The acquisition talks come as TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has come under intense scrutiny by public officials concerned that the Chinese government is using the app to tap user data.
President Trump had said he’s looking at taking steps to ban the app in the US.
“We’re looking at TikTok,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “There are a couple 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 respect to TikTok.”
But TikTok has insisted it has never provided user data to China and that it would not do so if asked, saying in a statement that it has “no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects our users’ privacy.”
The time frame agreed to by the president, which was confirmed by two sources to Reuters, aligns with Microsoft’s stated intentions of wrapping up talks with the popular app’s current Beijing-based owner by Sept. 15.
“During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President,” the company said in a Sunday blog post.
The negotiations between the two companies will be overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The government panel has the ability to block any agreement, sources told Reuters.
A preliminary proposal being explored by Microsoft and ByteDance would give the former ownership of the social media app in more markets than just the US.
Microsoft, a company owned by Bill Gates, said in a blog post Sunday that the proposal would also include purchasing TikTok service in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Seattle-based Microsoft also addressed security concerns, saying “world class security, privacy, and digital safety protections” would be added to TikTok if a deal is struck.