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Report: TikTok Buyer Chosen; Identity to Be Disclosed Imminently

By Eric Volkman – Updated Aug 31, 2020 at 8:56PM

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An announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.

According to a report from CNBC that cites "people familiar with the situation," a buyer has been chosen for TikTok's U.S., Australia, and New Zealand operations. The new owner of the high-profile video creation and sharing app is unknown, but according to the article's sources, it will be disclosed as early as Tuesday and looked legit.

Two unusual U.S. candidates are considered frontrunners to acquire TikTok, which is currently owned by China-based tech company ByteDance. First up is database giant Oracle (ORCL -0.54%), followed by the unique partnership of Microsoft (MSFT -1.94%) and big retailer Walmart (WMT -1.93%) Speculation puts the price at $20 billion to $30 billion.

Microsoft, Walmart, and Oracle have not yet commented on the report.

An extremely happy person in a yellow sweater holds a smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

The clock is quickly ticking on TikTok's sales. It has a political dimension, as the U.S. government has described the app as a "national emergency." Critics claim its perceived security flaws could lead to inappropriate transmission bout U.S. users to arms of the Chinese government.

"TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including internet and other network activity information, such as location data and browsing and search histories," the executive order reads. "This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information," president Donald Trump wrote in an executive order issued on Aug. 6.

That directive gave ByteDance 45 days to divest TikTok or face a ban from doing business with U.S. enterprises and individuals.

All of the apparent TikTok front-runners saw their stock prices fall harder than the S&P 500 index on Monday. Microsoft fell by 1.5%, Oracle declined 1.1%, and Walmart was down by slightly over 1%.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft and short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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