Microsoft has officially confirmed it is in talks to acquire the operations of video-sharing platform TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand markets following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Donald Trump.
“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,” the company said.
Reports had initially surfaced that Microsoft halted its bid to buy the US operations of China-based TikTok after President Trump vowed to ban the app. In the US, it has a monthly user base of over 80 million.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a sale was thought close to agreement “but was put in doubt after the US president’s warning.”
Microsoft said that it “will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance” and will be completing discussions no later than 15 September. It has said it may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.
Microsoft said it would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the US.
“To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred,” it said.
Just last week, TikTok unveiled a plan to offer creators $2 billion globally in the next three years.
However, the app has been accused of having Chinese ties, amidst heightened tensions between the Chinese government and many other countries. In the US, the Trump administration and the Chinese government have clashed over a number of issues, including trade disputes and Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.