By Kurt Wagner, Jennifer Jacobs, Saleha Mohsin, and Jenny Leonard
Microsoft Corp. is exploring an acquisition of TikTok’s operations in the U.S., according to a people familiar with the matter. A deal would give the software company a popular social-media service and relieve U.S. government pressure on the Chinese owner of the video-sharing app.
The Trump administration has been weighing whether to direct China-based ByteDance Ltd. to divest its stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations, according to several people familiar with the issue. The U.S. has been investigating potential national security risks due to the Chinese company’s control of the app.
While the administration was prepared to announce an order as soon as Friday, according to three people familiar with the matter, another person said later that the decision was on hold, pending further review by President Donald Trump. All of the people asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
Spokespeople for Microsoft and TikTok declined to comment on any potential talks. The software company’s interest in the app was reported earlier by Fox Business Network.
Trump on Friday night said he would ban TikTok from the U.S., and had the authority to do so by executive order or under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. He was signing the document on Saturday, he said.