Wednesday, 03 March, 2021


Aspiring TikTok buyers pursue four options to revive talks with ByteDance

ByteDance had been looking to pick a buyer for Tik Tok assets by this week so it can finalise a deal by mid September and comply with President Donald Trump's order to divest them President Trump says U.S. must be ‘well compensated’ in TikTok deal
Melba Vasquez | 04 September, 2020, 17:46

But red tape created by the Chinese government angered by the sale efforts resulting from President Trump's threatened TikTok ban has significantly muddied the waters. But the consortium fell apart after the Trump administration insisted a USA tech company lead the investments, one of the people said. At that point, without a USA buyer, TikTok will be banned in the US, per an executive order from President Donald Trump.

Without the algorithm, acquiring TikTok would be like buying "a fancy auto with a cheap engine", a source familiar with the negotiations told the Wall Street Journal.

Other options being considered include asking for Chinese approval to pass TikTok's algorithm on to the acquirer of the short video app's USA assets, licensing the algorithm from ByteDance, or seeking a transition period from a US national security panel overseeing the deal, three sources said. "I said the United States has to be compensated, well compensated". The first involves the purchase of TikTok assets in the United States without transferring the Chinese-licensed algorithm.

The Chinese government recently introduced restrictions on the export of artificial intelligence technology, which seems to cover the content recommendation algorithm also used on TikTok.

TikTok's advertising business is still nascent, but the company owned by China's ByteDance has become a popular place for brands that aim to reach the app's young audience, who flock to it for lip-syncing, dancing and comedy sketch videos. These are all unresolved questions. Google said it is no longer interested, while Walmart joined a bid led by Microsoft Corp.

The Journal report said both the prospective buyers and the seller, ByteDance, are trying to figure that out.

While TikTok is best known for videos of people dancing that go viral among teenagers, US officials have expressed concern that user information could be passed to Beijing.

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