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After a week of setbacks that hinted a deal may not be finalized in time, US government officials are considering extending the deadline it imposed on ByteDance to sell off TikTok’s US operations.
Bloomberg reports that the White House may push back the September 15 deadline President Donald Trump first set in early August to force ByteDance’s hand to sell off TikTok’s US assets or face a ban. Officials have not yet approached Trump about a possible deadline extension, Bloomberg reports, raising questions whether the president would approve a move.
A US company acquiring TikTok would address the US government’s national security concerns and avoid Donald Trump’s threat to ban the app nationwide because of ByteDance’s headquarters in China.
However, talks have stalled recently after China set new restrictions on exports of artificial-intelligence technology, requiring Chinese companies to get approval from the state government to conduct trade. The new rules could potentially give China the authority to block the export of TikTok’s AI, which includes the vital algorithm that powers the app’s addictive “For You” feed of videos.
Earlier reports indicated that due to a myriad of technical and political issues, ByteDance would likely need more time to solidify the TikTok deal. ByteDance is now reportedly surfacing “possible arrangements” that would keep the company from having to sell TikTok’s US operations in full.
Talks about a possible sale of TikTok’s US business trace back to July. In the absence of a deal, the Trump administration’s power to impose such a ban on TikTok or take action against ByteDance — as well as its national-security accusations — remains unclear.
It’s also unclear what will happen come September 15, the date the Trump administration first set that TikTok employees have taken to calling “D-Day.” Trump’s actions since then have made it unclear what the true deadline could be: Trump’s first executive order set a September 20 date for banning Americans from making “any transactions” with TikTok and ByteDance. A second executive order a week later seemed to extend a deadline for a TikTok deal to November 12 — more than a week after the US presidential election.
The race for a stake in TikTok’s assets — a deal valued between $20 billion and $50 billion — has surfaced names like Microsoft, Oracle, Walmart, and SoftBank as potential buyers. The frontrunners in the bidding war have appeared to be two groups: a joint offer between Microsoft and Walmart that’s backed by ByteDance’s CEO, and another from Oracle, which has the support of President Trump and a group of ByteDance’s US investors.
SEE ALSO: TikTok may be trying to negotiate its way out of being sold at all
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Source:: Business Insider