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