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Microsoft Suspends Talks to Buy TikTok After Trump Signals Opposition

August 2, 2020 7:41 am

Beijing (PingWest)—Microsoft has suspended negotiations to buy TikTok's US operations after President Trump said late Friday he opposed the deal, Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Beijing-headquartered ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, was in advanced talks with Microsoft, agreeing to sell TikTok's US business to the latter to ensure that the social media app can continue to operate in the country. 

Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he planned to use either emergency economic powers or an executive order to bar TikTok from operating domestically and wouldn’t support a sale. “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” he said.

Therefore, Microsoft has to pause the ongoing talks and is trying to get clarity on where the White House stands and whether it is planning a separate action that would make it difficult for TikTok to operate in the US.

Sources told WSJ that before US President made the remarks, ByteDance and Microsoft both believed that the broad strokes of a deal could be in place by Monday.

Despite Trump's opposition to the acquisition, the deal talks aren’t believed to be dead, and some executives involved hope that President will change his mind and allow the deal to proceed, now that the transaction is structured the way he had requested, said the report.

On Saturday, TikTok’s general manager in the US, Vanessa Pappas, posted a short video and thanked the app’s US users for their support in a video, adding: “We’re not planning on going anywhere.”