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Rumor has it that TikTok has negotiated with the U.S. government for months to avoid a full sale of U.S. businesses

According to the Wall Street Journal, according to people familiar with the matter, ByteDance, the parent company of the popular short video app TikTok (TikTok overseas version), has been negotiating with the U.S. government for several months, hoping to avoid a full sale of its U.S. business, which may even involve company restructuring. .

People familiar with the matter said that since the Chinese government took measures, the acquisition of TikTok's US business by companies such as Microsoft has become more complicated. Prior to this, US President Trump asked TikTok to sell its US business, otherwise it would be banned in the US.


People familiar with the matter said that Bytedance currently faces multiple choices, but none of them has been finalized. It is still possible to sell TikTok. Even if there is no full sale, the result may involve some sort of reorganization of TikTok.

People familiar with the negotiations said that the US government officials involved in the negotiations are mainly concerned about TikTok's data security and preventing the Chinese government from accessing these data.

Trump has repeatedly stated that he wants a US company to acquire TikTok's business. It is unclear whether there are any alternatives to alleviate his concerns.

US Treasury Department spokesperson Monica Crowley issued a statement saying, "According to Trump's August 14 order to divest TikTok, the department is currently only focusing on discussions related to the sale."

ByteDance is always exploring various options, including selling TikTok's US business to Microsoft (in conjunction with Walmart) or Oracle.

The question that makes the negotiation more complicated is whether the TikTok sale includes its crucial algorithm. Those familiar with bidders said that without this algorithm, the attractiveness of the TikTok platform would be greatly reduced. Prior to this, there is still a lot of uncertainty about whether TikTok will be sold. TikTok filed a lawsuit in late August to challenge Trump’s executive order that if a buyer cannot be found, TikTok will be banned in the United States.

According to people familiar with the matter, before the president first proposed the idea of such a ban, the US government considered taking action to require the app to protect the data it collects in the United States. People familiar with the matter also said that specific measures include restricting data storage locations and the scope of access rights.

Last year, the US government issued another executive order stating that companies such as Huawei have national security threats. The restrictions on TikTok are a continuation of Huawei's administrative order.

It is reported that ByteDance tried to propose a plan not to sell TikTok and indicated to the Trump administration that shutting down TikTok is also risky-one basis is that a large number of TikTok users are biased towards political conservatives. However, a group of teenagers had previously used the platform to sabotage the attendance of President Trump's June campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the attendance rate was lower than expected. TikTok thus established the image of a politically progressive camp.

People familiar with the matter said that last week all parties discussed data security-related issues with representatives of the CIA in Virginia, including representatives of at least one of TikTok's major investors (Sequoia Capital, Pan Atlantic and Coatue Funds).

According to the administrative order on August 6, the White House gave ByteDance a 45-day period. If TikTok cannot find a buyer, it will face a ban. Trump stated that if TikTok is not sold to a US company, it will not be able to eliminate its threat to the US economy and national security. Under this deadline, TikTok needs to reach a sale agreement before September 20-this is too stressful for any M&A transaction, not to mention TikTok such a large, complicated and many international political impact cases.

Another presidential decree on August 14 stipulated that the deadline for completion of all transactions was November 12, 90 days later, with a possible extension of 30 days. But in any case, the deadline set in the second executive order will be later than the time of the US presidential election. (Little)

Source: NetEase Technology Report, translated by Google Translate


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