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Donald Trump refuses to extend deadline for TikTok sale in US

Ankita Chakravarti     September 11, 2020

With only four days to September 15—the deadline for China's Bytdance to sell TikTok, the short video platform's fate in the United States hangs by a thread. The US President has now refused to extend the deadline for Bytedance to sell the US operations of TikTok to an American company. Although there were too many takers, Bytedance could not reach a conclusion with any of the companies.

"There will be no extension of the TikTok deadline. We'll either close up TikTok in this country for security reasons, or it will be sold," Trump was quoted as saying by reporters. Trump had granted 90 days to Bytedance to sell the US arm of the short video making platform but that doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon

Bytedance despite having many potential buyers including Microsoft, Oracle, and Walmart could not finalize the deal due to China's newly introduced export control rules that would require China's permission for TikTok to sell its algorithm.

Earlier this month, Microsoft had entered into a partnership with Walmart to acquire the TikTok's US operations. "We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of US TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators," Walmart said in a statement. The retail giant was earlier in talks with Softbank for a partnership but it did not materialize since Walmart does not have a cloud technology component. Oracle too had entered into the fray after Microsoft expressed its desire to acquire TikTok.

The reports had earlier stated that if the deal gets finalized between Bytedance and the companies, the sale price would be in the range of $20 billion to $30 billion.

Trump had signed an executive order announcing that the app will be taken down in the US if it fails to sell its operations to a US company within 90 days. Trump called TikTok and WeChat a threat to "national security" in its executive order. This had compelled TikTok's CEO to step down after only 100 days of assuming the position.

"Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company. I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the US administration's action to push for a sell-off of the US business," Mayer had said in his letter to his employees informing them about his decision to quit TikTok. The letter was obtained by FT.

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