What a Microsoft deal to buy TikTok would look like
President Trump, who said Friday night that he'll ban TikTok, may allow Microsoft to buy the app's U.S. operations if there's "complete separation" from the original Beijing-based company, Republican sources tell Axios.
What's new: Conversations with Republicans over the weekend suggest a possible blueprint for making the proposed Microsoft deal palatable to the White House.
- Microsoft promises a complete break from the Chinese parent company, ByteDance — not just data and servers, but also software.
- What’s essential is there can be no lingering connection of any kind to ByteDance or non-U.S. TikTok.
Trump "has a deal on his desk" whereby Microsoft would lead an acquisition of 100% of the U.S. operations of TikTok, Axios' Dan Primack reported yesterday.
- Microsoft seems to believe total separation from ByteDance is attainable.
- Microsoft has the technical know-how/capabilities, money and global government relationships to pull this off.
Context: Presidents normally can't just order a ban on individual companies. But TikTok's foreign ownership gives the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States broad authority over it.
The bottom line: Look for the above formula to be the minimum.
- People who have discussed the issue with Trump think he'd be fine with a simple ban.
Primack's thought bubble: Trump likely has a binary choice on TikTok: Shut it down, thus risking the ire of 100 million U.S. users just months from an election, or let Microsoft buy it.