The Journal Gazette
 
 
Monday, September 14, 2020 1:00 am

TikTok owner rejects takeover bid by Microsoft

MATT O'BRIEN and TALI ARBEL | Associated Press

The owner of TikTok has chosen Oracle over Microsoft as its preferred suitor to buy the popular video-sharing app, according to a source familiar with the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.

Microsoft announced Sunday that its bid to buy TikTok has been rejected, removing a leading suitor for the Chinese-owned app a week before President Donald Trump promises to follow through with a plan to ban it in the U.S.

The Trump administration has threatened to ban TikTok by Sept. 20 and ordered ByteDance to sell its U.S. business, claiming national-security risks due to its Chinese ownership. The government worries about user data being funneled to Chinese authorities. TikTok denies it is a national-security risk and is suing to stop the administration from the threatened ban.

Microsoft said in a Sunday statement that TikTok's parent company, Bytedance, “let us know today they would not be selling TikTok's U.S. operations to Microsoft.”

Walmart had planned to partner with Microsoft on the deal. It's not clear if Walmart was still interested before Microsoft was notified of the rejection Sunday.

Microsoft said Sunday it was “confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests.” The company said it “would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combating disinformation.”

TikTok, which says it has 100 million U.S. users and about 700 million globally, is known for its fun, goofy videos of dancing, lip-syncing, pranks and jokes.

t's recently become home to more political content such as the comedian Sarah Cooper, who drew a large audience by lip-syncing Trump's own often-disjointed statements from public appearances.

But the app has also raised concerns because of its Chinese owner, ByteDance.

The White House has cracked down on a range of Chinese businesses, including telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE and messaging app WeChat, over worries that they would enable Chinese authorities to get U.S. user data.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have also raised concerns about censorship and children's privacy.


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