ByteDance Ltd, the parent company of TikTok, has been in talks with the U.S. government about ways to avoid a full sale of the U.S. operations of their popular video-sharing app.
Sources familiar with the matter said that the discussions have risen in prominence since the Chinese government took steps to make it difficult to sell to the likes of Microsoft or other technology giants in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.
The insight comes as the deadline imposed by President Donald Trump on August 6 against the company, soon approaches.
Bytedance Ltd., TikTok’s parent company, has been in talks with U.S. gov’t officials even though the Chinese government has tried to limit the full sale (stock)
TikTok could face restructuring, the source added, but the company is expected to make some type of sale.
The app’s data security has been a continuous concern for gov’t. officials involved in the talks, the sources added.
In a statement, Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley said that the department ‘is focused solely at this time on discussions associated with the sale of TikTok in accordance with the August 14 divestiture order signed by the President.’
BtyeDance is exploring a series of options that does include a sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft, who are joined with Walmart Inc., or Oracle Corp.
Sources familiar with the matter say that TikTok could face restructuring or that it may be possible to not have a full sale of U.S. operations (stock)
In a statement, Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley said that the department ‘is focused solely at this time on discussions associated with the sale of TikTok in accordance with the August 14 divestiture order signed by the President’
Representative from the app’s major investors – Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic and Coatue Management LLC – met in Virginia last week with representatives from the CIA to discuss data security, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The company has come under global scrutiny amid concerns about TikTok’s collection of personal data and censoring of political content. The United States has said it will ban the short video app unless ByteDance sells the app’s U.S. operations amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
ByteDance has said the Chinese government does not have any jurisdiction over TikTok content.
TikTok has also faced challenges in India, where it was among dozens of Chinese apps banned in June following a border clash between the countries.
‘The TikTok team and especially the deal team have been working day in and day out,’ a company source said, adding staff morale at TikTok had been hit by the global challenges as well as the departure of its CEO Kevin Mayer who quit after just three months.
ByteDance founder and CEO, Zhang Yiming, said in an earlier letter that the staff had been working ‘endless hours’ amid the surrounding ‘noise’.