President Donald Trump confirmed Monday he will give Microsoft until Sept. 15 to acquire TikTok during a press conference at The White House. The president told reporters that the popular app will be banned in the U.S. after that deadline if Microsoft or another company has not acquired it.
“I don’t care if it’s Microsoft or someone else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company [buys] it,” Trump said.
#BREAKING: President Trump says TikTok must be bought by US company and pay cut of selling price into US Treasury: “Right now they don’t have any rights unless we give it to them.” pic.twitter.com/VJ7gC1u6nc
— The Hill (@thehill) August 3, 2020
It’s an abrupt reversal from Friday when Trump announced plans to ban TikTok in the U.S. out concerns that its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, could share private data on Americans with the Chinese government, allegations the companies deny. The president said at the time that he didn’t support a sale to Microsoft.
Trump reiterated his position that TikTok “can’t be controlled, for security reasons, by China” during Monday’s press conference.
How the proposed Microsoft-TikTok deal reveals an erratic U.S. antitrust agenda
Microsoft confirmed Sunday it is in talks to buy TikTok after speaking with the president about his national security concerns. Microsoft said in its statement that it expects acquisition talks to be finalized by Sept. 15.
Microsoft is negotiating the purchase of TikTok’s service in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, planning to own and operate the service in those markets if it can reach a deal with ByteDance. Microsoft says it is committed to “addressing the president’s concerns” by migrating Americans’ user data to U.S. servers.
“It’s probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30% of it,” Trump said Monday. “How do you buy 30%? Who’s going to get the name? The name is hot. The brand is hot … my personal opinion is you’re probably better off buying the whole thing. I think buying 30% is complicated.”
Trump also said that the U.S. Treasury should receive “a very substantial portion” of the acquisition price, though it’s not clear how that process would work.