Update #4: 8/3/2020: President Trump said on Monday “he does not mind if Microsoft Corp buys the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok,” so long as the deal is done by September 15th. This remark clears the path for the purchase to go through without controversy.
Update #3 8/2/2020: Microsoft has now officially confirmed it is exploring the purchase of Tiktok, and talks have now resumed following discussions with the Trump administration.
Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald J. Trump, Microsoft is prepared to continue discussions to explore a purchase of TikTok 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 will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.
The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.
Update #2 8/1/2020 8PM ET: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that talks between Microsoft and TikTok are on hold due to Trump’s comments on Air Force One Friday night.
Update 8/1/2020: Late last night, President Trump signaled he would outright ban TikTok from operating in the US. Since then, ByteDance has stated it is willing to ‘divest’ its stake in TikTok’s US operations. Microsoft is still considered to be the US company to take over services. However, it is not known if the US administration accepts ByteDance’s new offer.