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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump "has a deal on his desk," whereby Microsoft would lead an acquisition of 100% of the U.S. operations of TikTok, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Why it matters: Trump Friday night said he plans to ban TikTok, as India has done, over concerns that the app could be sharing U.S. user data with the Chinese government.

What we know: U.S. presidents don't typically have approval or veto power over merger agreements. But this situation is different because of the involvement of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which has been reviewing ByteDance's 2017 acquisition of U.S. app Musical.ly and eventually merged with TikTok.

What we don't know: It is unclear whether the Microsoft offer involves participation in ByteDance from U.S.-based venture capital investors, some of which reportedly have had interest in helping carve 0ut TikTok.

  • It also remains uncertain exactly what Trump's "ban" threat entails, or under what legal argument he'd block a Microsoft acquisition.

My thought bubble: Microsoft was not among the Big Tech companies called to testify earlier this week in front of a House committee focused on antitrust, thus perhaps giving it more acquisition flexibility than a more natural TikTok owner like Facebook or Google.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 6, 2020 - Economy & Business

Chinese short-video and live streaming app KuaiShou files for IPO

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

KuaiShou, a Chinese short-video and live streaming app, filed for a Hong Kong IPO that reportedly will seek to raise $5 billion.

Why it matters: This reflects the booming market for TikTok-style services in China, as KuaiShou claims to have over 300 million daily users. Its rivals include Douyin (ByteDance's Chinese version of TikTok) and Nasdaq-listed Bilibili (which, like KuaiShou, includes Tencent and Alibaba as shareholders).

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

36 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.