TikTok parent ByteDance rejects Microsoft bid for US assets

TikTok parent ByteDance rejects Microsoft bid for US assets
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14 Sep, 2020

Redmond, Washington headquartered technology giant Microsoft on Sunday confirmed that its bid to buy the US operations of short video sharing application TikTok has been rejected by parent operator ByteDance.

The development comes after weeks of bidding that saw Microsoft and cloud computing firm Oracle compete for a deal that would see the Chinese platform restructure its operations in the US. 

Meanwhile, multiple media agencies reported that Redwood City, California based Oracle, the last remaining bidder, has closed the deal with Beijing-based internet technology company ByteDance. 

An official confirmation from Oracle or ByteDance is awaited on the matter.

“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft said in a statement. 

Microsoft added that had the deal gone through, the company would have made changes to ensure the service met standards for security, privacy, online safety and combatting disinformation.

“We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas,” Microsoft added.

According to a report in Bloomberg, the terms of the deal between TikTok parent and Oracle are unclear, with the end result likely to appear as a corporate restructuring rather than a sale. The valuation of the deal is still under speculation as China has recently tweaked its technology export rules.

The bidding process for the TikTok deal began last month amid widespread speculation about security risks and user data privacy in the US.  

Apart from the US, Microsoft and ByteDance had provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal to purchase TikTok’s service in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

The process started after US President Donald Trump issued executive orders in early August, seeking to ban the app unless the platform was sold to an American entity by September 20.

Retail giant Walmart announced that it would jointly bid for TikTok’s US operations with Microsoft. ByteDance was expected to choose a buyer by September 15, according to media reports.

In India, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) banned TikTok, along with 58 other Chinese apps on 29 June, citing concerns over sovereignty and integrity of India.

Read: PUBG, Baidu in the latest list of Chinese apps banned by Indian govt

According to data from the iOS and Android app store for the second quarter of 2020, TikTok had 380 million downloads from India, 81 million in the US, 79 million in Brazil, followed by Indonesia and Russia with 64 million and 42 million respectively.