In yet another addition to what has certainly been the most eventful of the times for the Chinese social media giant TikTok, US President Donald Trump has told reporters that he will exercise his executive powers to ban the platform in the country. This comes just hours after a report claimed that Microsoft was in talks to buy out the platform.
The country has been contemplating a ban on the app for quite some time, especially after a usually less-vigorous India decided to get rid of the platform. However, nothing substantial had come from the government, apart from Mike Pompeo’s statement that the ban was something they were “looking at”.
Yesterday, a report from Bloomberg claimed that Donald Trump may finally act, and ask ByteDance to divest its ownership of TikTok.
Just hours later, Bloomberg uncovered yet another major addition to the saga, speculating that Microsoft may be in talks to buy out TikTok.
ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok and its Chinese sister platform Douyin, was approached by existing investors like General Atlantic and Sequoia, who wanted the company to sell them a majority stake in the social media platform. According to a report, the app was valued at $50 billion, a 50x multiplier of its expected revenues for the year 2020.
Microsoft probably offered the same valuation to TikTok, and feigned interest in the ultra popular social media platform. However, before Microsoft or TikTok could respond, Donald Trump told reporters that he was not supportive of allowing an American company to acquire TikTok, and might pass an executive order to ban the app from the country.
A TikTok spokesperson addressed the President’s remark and made the same points that the company has been making for months now. He assured that TikTok’s US user data is stored in the US with strict controls on employee access, adding that the platform’s biggest investors come from US themselves. He also reminded that TikTok has hired nearly 1,000 people to our US team this year alone.
The company has also started creator funds, hired Kevin Mayer as its CEO and started publishing transparency reports. However, none of that has seemed to appease the President, who expects to make a move as early as Saturday.