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ByteDance offers to sell TikTok’s US operations

ByteDance offers to sell TikTok’s US operations

AFP & Agencies
San Francisco
ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of wildly popular TikTok, has offered to sell the app’s US operations as a way to avert a ban by the US government , The New York Times reported on Saturday.
After weeks of rumors and pressure, US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was preparing to bar the app from operating in the United States, perhaps by executive order on Saturday.
Earlier, media reports had suggested Trump would require that the US operations of the app be divested from ByteDance, but he instead announced a ban.
But the Times report, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, goes further to say that ByteDance has offered to do so. The proposed divestment would not necessarily affect TikTok’s operations outside the United States, the report said.
TikTok, especially popular with young audiences who create and watch its short-form videos, has an estimated one billion users worldwide.
But US officials have raised concerns that it could be used as a tool for Chinese intelligence, a claim the firm has repeatedly denied.
“While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok,” the company said when asked for comment on the Times report.
Some reports have indicated that Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy TikTok. A deal would give the software company a popular social-media service and relieve US government pressure on the Chinese owner of the video-sharing app.
Spokespeople for Microsoft and TikTok, however, declined to comment on any potential talks. The software company’s interest in the app was reported earlier by Fox Business Network.
A purchase of TikTok would represent a huge coup for Microsoft, which would gain a popular consumer app that has won over young people with a steady diet of dance videos, lip-syncing clips and viral memes.
The company has dabbled in social-media investments in the past, but hasn’t developed a popular service of its own in the lucrative sector. Microsoft acquired the LinkedIn job-hunting and corporate networking company for $26.2 billion in 2016.
Microsoft isn’t the only company interested in buying TikTok’s US operations, according to people familiar with the matter.
US government officials probing national-security concerns around the Chinese-owned video-sharing app have had talks with at least one other large company as well as investors in TikTok parent ByteDance who are interested in taking a stake in TikTok, according to one of the people, who requested anonymity because the discussions are private.

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