Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy TikTok's US operations

  • President Donald Trump reportedly plans to direct China's ByteDance to divest its ownership of social media app TikTok's US operations.
  • Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino reports Microsoft is in talks to buy the stake.
  • Microsoft and TikTok have yet to respond to requests for more information.
  • Are you a Microsoft employee? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As President Donald Trump reportedly plans to order TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell the social media app's US operations, Microsoft has emerged in one unconfirmed report as a potential buyer.

Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino reports Microsoft is in talks to buy the stake. Microsoft and TikTok have yet to respond to Business Insider's requests about the reports. Gasparino also tweeted, "My banking sources say they are looking at it; can't guarantee a purchase but this thing is being shopped and one of the stops has been @Microsoft."

 

Gasparino also reported the White House was "deeply concerned" about Microsoft's potential purchase and whether any Chinese investors would retain a stake in TikTok's US operations, citing unnamed sources.

It's unclear if Trump has any power to order a foreign company to sell its stake in a US business, or how the company might respond. The order seems to be an escalation of recent attacks the Trump administration has made against TikTok and other Chinese companies,. Recently, Trump said he was considering banning the app, citing security concerns.

It's not immediately clear where TikTok would fit into Microsoft's business. Microsoft's major presence in social networking is LinkedIn, which is aimed at working professionals. 

Microsoft this week managed to avoid testifying at a Congressional antitrust hearing alongside Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Google. Antitrust experts said Microsoft's absence was likely because the company is focused mostly on business customers, helping it fly under the radar when it comes to the scrutiny that's followed its competitors for the last several years. Acquiring TikTok's US operations could bring Microsoft more under the microscope.

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected]sider.com, message her on Twitter @ashannstew, or send her a secure message through Signal at 425-344-8242.

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