The drama around TikTok’s fate in the United States continues to evolve. A new report from The Wall Street Journal today says that Twitter has held “preliminary talks” with TikTok about a potential “combination.” Despite these talks, Microsoft is still said to be the “front-runner” to acquire the company.
The report emphasizes that it’s not immediately clear why Twitter would be interested in a possible acquisition of TikTok given the obstacles that it would face, including the high price tag of the company. Furthermore, the report adds that Twitter would be a long-shot contender for TikTok’s United States business but that its smaller size could help alleviate anti-trust concerns.
A variety of companies have reportedly expressed interest in potentially acquiring TikTok at one point or another, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft. Apple immediately denied the rumors, but Microsoft has publicly confirmed its interest in acquiring TikTok. Twitter declined to comment on The Wall Street Journal report.
Of course, Twitter has a history with short-form video sharing apps. Twitter acquired the viral short-form video-sharing app Vine in 2012 but ultimately ended up shutting the service down just four years later. TikTok is a much bigger business than Vine was, so its fate in Twitter’s hands would presumably be quite a bit different. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to consider whether TikTok would even be as valuable as it is today if Vine hadn’t been shut down so early.
All of this stems from President Trump’s threats to ban TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, in the United States over national security concerns. Microsoft has also published a blog post detailing its ongoing negotiations with ByteDance, committing to an announcement of some sort by September 15.
Underscoring the fast-paced situation, Trump on Friday signed an executive order to ban transactions with Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent. The order will take effect in 45 days, but a sale to a United States company such as Microsoft would alleviate these concerns.
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