Microsoft’s President Trump-fueled negotiations to acquire TikTok continue to become more complicated — and conflicting information keeps leaking out.
On Thursday, the Financial Times reported that Microsoft wants to buy all of TikTok, not just the portion of it that operates in the US and a few other countries. It’s unclear how serious that expanded interest is, though. The talks are described as “preliminary,” and Business Insider has a source saying the report is “completely false.” Neither of the reports cite people willing to talk about the deal on the record, though, adding to the confusion about how this deal might play out. Microsoft declined to comment.
Last Sunday, Microsoft said it was pursuing a deal to buy TikTok’s presence in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It’s a complicated acquisition that could lead to a splintered version of TikTok’s app and operations, making the investment a shakier one for Microsoft. Buying TikTok’s global operations — which FT reports would not include Douyin, the version of the app that ByteDance operates in China — would give Microsoft a much stronger position to support TikTok.
The deal is clearly in its early stages. It was only last Friday that Trump said he was a day away from banning TikTok. He later set a deadline of September 15th, saying he wouldn’t ban the app if it were sold to an American company.
In addition to wanting TikTok’s global operations — which would include India, Europe, and all of the other countries in which the app has launched — Microsoft is looking at adding a one-year timeline to separate the app from ByteDance and address any security concerns from the US government, FT reports. Splitting the app off from ByteDance might take far longer than that, though, with one person telling FT it could take up to eight years.