Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Trump administration plans to sign an order directing China-based ByteDance to divest its U.S.-based video sharing app TikTok, which is already in talks to be acquired by Microsoft, according to news reports Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. since last year has been reviewing national security risks of ByteDance's control of TikTok, recently valued at $50 billion. This order would require ByteDance to cede majority control of TikTok, Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The order could come as early as Friday.

Context: The Trump administration has been casting a cold eye on Chinese companies operating in the U.S., with campaigns aimed at Huawei, ZTE and other technology firms. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that TikTok is a national security risk.

Meanwhile: Microsoft is in talks to potentially buy TikTok, Fox Business' Charles Gasparino and the New York Times reported Friday.

  • Yes, but: The Trump administration is "deeply concerned" about such a deal, Gasparino tweeted, and would vet it extremely closely to ensure TikTok would retain no ties to Chinese investors.

Be smart: In general, Microsoft has been moving away from big consumer businesses, especially ad-funded ones, notes Axios' Ina Fried.

  • But Microsoft isn’t closed to consumer deals, especially if it sees them as foundational and capable of introducing a new generation of tech users to its ecosystem. Consider that the company’s first big acquisition under CEO Satya Nadella was the company behind Minecraft.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Quibi says it's shutting down

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Quibi, the mobile-only video subscription streaming service, is shutting down, the company announced Wednesday. The company said the decision was made to preserve shareholder equity.

Why it matters: Quibi had struggled to hit its subscriber growth targets amid the global pandemic. The app launched six months ago.

Gulf Coast braces for Zeta after storm strengthens into hurricane

Hurricane Zeta's forecast path. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday as Zeta strengthened into a hurricane and threatened Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as it moved towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The state of play: Zeta was expected to make landfall on the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday night, bringing with it a "dangerous storm surge" and "heavy rainfall" as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Service said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

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