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Microsoft ‘wants to purchase TikTok’s global operations’

Microsoft is reportedly chasing a deal to buy TikTok’s entire global business as it makes a bid to purchase the US arm of the video-sharing app following President Donald Trump’s threats to ban it.

According to a Financial Times report on Thursday, the deal to buy TikTok globally includes its operations in India and Europe, five people with knowledge of the talks said. 

However, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters that Microsoft had not raised the prospect of buying all of TikTok in its ongoing negotiations with the video app’s parent company ByteDance. 

Microsoft refused to confirm or deny the reports when contacted by 

TikTok has been banned in India since June following a bloody border clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the northeast. 

The company said on Sunday it was in talks to buy the assets of TikTok in North America, Australia and New Zealand and address Trump’s concerns about data security in light of claims that the social platform could become an espionage tool.

TikTok denies that it would send US user data to the Chinese government. 

Trump has said he is likely to approve such a deal between TikTok and Microsoft but said any deal had to be done by mid-September deadline or he would ban the in the US.

One of the Financial Times sources said Microsoft was exploring the option to buy TikTok globally because it would be difficult to manage HR and other functions if only a portion of the company was bought. 

A global purchase would also mean that TikTok users could be guaranteed use across the world, the source added.  

Trump on Monday had said it was likely easier if Microsoft bought all of TikTok rather than the 30 percent that would cover the US arm.

Another source said it would be difficult to meet Trump’s September deadline, saying it could take between five to eights years to fully separate software from ByteDance.

Despite Microsoft emerging as a contender to purchase its services in the US, TikTok this week restated its plan to become a ‘global company’ and to re-establish its headquarters outside the US.

‘TikTok has always operated as a global enterprise with its leadership team operating out of multiple markets around the world outside of China,’ a company spokeswoman said.

‘We expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.’

Trump said Monday to reporters that the US ‘should get a very large percentage of that price because we’re making it possible,’ adding that ‘we want and we think we deserve to have a big percentage of that price coming to America, coming to the Treasury.’ 

But White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow appeared to walk back the idea of a payment to the Treasury on the Fox Business Network the following day, saying ‘I don’t know if that’s a key stipulation.’ 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sidestepped a question Tuesday about what authority the federal government had to collect a portion of proceeds from the potential sale of TikTok, saying ‘I’m not going to get ahead of the president on any official action.’

Treasury did not reply to questions about what legal precedent Trump is relying on to get a payment for the TikTok deal.

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