TikTok could avoid ban as Microsoft and Walmart deal ‘now just days away’
TIKTOK could narrowly avoid being banned in the USA – with Microsoft and Walmart to thank.
The two American firms are believed to be just days away from closing a deal with Chinese-owned TikTok.
TikTok could skirt a possible US ban in just days[/caption]
If TikTok isn’t snapped up by an American company before November 12, it faces a permanent ban in the USA.
TikTok has already filed a lawsuit challenging the order, and is frantically working to avoid a ban.
But TikTok could announce the closure of a deal as soon as next week, according to CNBC.
Donald Trump signed an executive order classifying TikTok as a ‘national security threat’[/caption]
The buy-out is expected to be valued in the region of $20billion to $30billion.
t would dwarf many major tech acquisitions – including Facebook’s 2014 purchase of WhatsApp for $16billion.
But it’s still small change for Microsoft, which is currently valued at $1.71trillion on the US stock market.
And at the end of 2019, Microsoft had roughly $135billion in a liquid cash pile.
The chief contender for a buy-out is Microsoft, which has been the longest-running name in the race.
But Microsoft has now also teamed up with retail giant Walmart – which owns Asda in the UK – to make a stronger bid.
“We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of US TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators,” a Walmart spokesperson said.
The pair will take on rival TikTok bidders, including software giant Oracle.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has spoken with Trump about a potential acquisition of TikTok – rumoured at a value of $30million[/caption]
Trump signed an initial order against TikTok on August 6, invoking a corporate blacklist against trading with Chinese parent firm ByteDance.
Then just a week later, Trump gave ByteDance a September deadline to find a US buyer for TikTok.
This deadline was later extended to November 12, after which point TikTok faces a national ban.
Several tech companies have been linked to a TikTok buy-out, including Microsoft, Apple and Twitter.
Earlier this month, Trump warned he could ban the app immediately.
But Trump later backed down after a phone call with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Part of the deal would also involve Microsoft bringing all of TikTok’s code from China to the US within a year.
Microsoft’s chief managed to help convince Trump about how beneficial a TikTok buy-out could be for the US.
“We had a great conversation. He called me to see how I felt about it,” Trump explained.
“And I said look, it can’t be controlled – for security reasons – by China. Too big, too invasive.
“Here’s the deal. I don’t mind if – whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else – a big company, a secure company, a very American company buy it.”
He also described TikTok by saying: “The name is hot, the brand is hot.”
But his praise of a potential deal came with a major warning: the US Treasury would need to benefit from any deal struck.
It’s not clear how this would work, or through what mechanism money would be paid, as usually the Treasury wouldn’t gain a portion of a private corporate acquisition.
“I said that a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States,” said Trump.
“Because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen.”
He added that an “appropriate deal” would mean “the Treasury…gets a lot of money”.
It’s still possible that Trump will decide to ban TikTok over national security concerns.
But buying the app could be a huge coup for Microsoft and the US, as TikTok serves more than 100million American users.
It would give Microsoft a better chance of competing with major social media rivals, in particular Facebook.
Meanwhile, President Trump recently joined a TikTok rival app called Triller.
Trump’s first video is a promotional clip for his 2020 US Presidential Election campaign.
It begins with a quote of the President saying: “I’m a professional at technology.”
This is followed up by Trump saying: “Nobody can do it like me. Nobody.”
Triller has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent weeks, as fears of a TikTok ban grow.
It’s been downloaded hundreds of times in the past month, and is seen as a safe haven for TikTok refugees.
Triller is based in Los Angeles, but also has offices in New York, Paris, San Francisco, Faro and Orlando.
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In other news, TikTok has said it has tens of millions of US users and hundreds of millions of users worldwide.
But while it’s considered fun by users, US lawmakers have raised intelligence, national security, and privacy concerns about the company’s ownership.
TikTok has denied allegations that it shares user data with the Chinese government.
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