Microsoft Corp. is exploring an acquisition of TikTok’s operations in the US, according to a person familiar with the matter.
TikTok, a video-sharing app, is owned by China-based ByteDance Ltd., which has been evaluating changes to its business structure because of the US government’s national security concerns.
President Donald Trump plans to announce a decision ordering Bytedance to divest its U.S. ownership of TikTok, according to people familiar with the matter. The U.S. has been investigating potential national security risks due to the Chinese company’s control of the app. Trump’s decision could be announced as soon as Friday, said the people.
Microsoft is in talks to purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations, according to the person who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. A spokesman for Microsoft declined to comment.
ByteDance bought Musical.ly Inc. in 2017 and merged it with TikTok, creating a social-media hit in the U.S — the first Chinese app to make such inroads.
As TikTok became more popular, U.S. officials grew concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use the app to gain data on U.S. citizens. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which investigates overseas acquisition of U.S. businesses, began a review of the purchase in the fall of 2019.
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