Microsoft’s initial interest in TikTok’s U.S. operations has dramatically expanded, with the software giant now seeking a blockbuster deal to buy the popular Chinese video-sharing app lock, stock and barrel, a new report finds.
Microsoft now wants to buy TikTok’s entire global operations, including the social networking app’s European and Indian outfits, the Financial Times reports.
The move comes as the Trump administration is threatening to shut down TikTok’s operations in the United States over security concerns related to ties between its parent company, Beijing-based ByteDance, and the Chinese government.
President Donald Trump, who had been threatening an immediate shutdown, has since extended the deadline to Sept. 15 after Microsoft stepped with a proposal to buy TikTok’s operations in the United States, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
But Microsoft’s appetite for a TikTok deal has since grown, with the tech company concerned about the difficulty of dividing administrative services, according to the FT, which cited “five people with knowledge of the talks.” Another of its concerns is that buying only a portion of TikTok’s global operations would mean customers might not be able to use the app when traveling to other countries.
Still, even as it considers buying TikTok in its entirety, Microsoft recognizes the twin challenges of extracting TikTok and its technology from parent company ByteDance while also satisfying the concerns of U.S. security officials, according to the FT.
Microsoft is considering asking for a one-year grace period to implement the transition, even as some executives question whether it could take several years, the paper reported.
“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 Sept. 15, 2020,” Microsoft noted in a statement issued on Aug. 2. “During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States government, including with the president.”