In an unexpected turnaround, President Donald Trump has agreed to allow Microsoft Corp to negotiate the acquisition of popular short-video app TikTok if it could secure a deal in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The move represents an about-face for Trump and prompted the U.S. tech giant to declare its interest in the blockbuster social media deal that could further inflame U.S.-China relations. Trump said on Friday he was planning to ban TikTok amid concerns that its Chinese ownership represents a national security risk because of the personal data it handles.
The proposed acquisition of TikTok, which boasts 100 millions U.S. users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc and Snap Inc. Microsoft also owns professional social media network LinkedIn.
Trump had dismissed the idea of a sale to Microsoft on Friday. But following a discussion between Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a statement on Sunday that it would continue negotiations to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, and that it aimed to reach a deal by Sept. 15. …
Donald Trump also said Monday the U.S. government should get a “substantial portion” of the sales price of the U.S. operations of TikTok and warned he will ban the service in the United States on September 15 without a sale.
“I did say that if you buy it, whatever the price is that goes to whoever owns it, because I guess it’s China essentially … I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump said.
It was not clear how the U.S. government would receive part of the purchase price.