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Report: TikTok Unlikely to Be Sold by U.S. Government's Deadline; Trump Rules Out Extension

By Eric Volkman – Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 9:32AM

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The app's owner, ByteDance, has less than 10 days to make a deal.

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, probably won't be able to sell the popular video sharing app by Sept. 20, the date President Trump's administration has mandated for its divestment.

That's according to an article published Thursday by Bloomberg, citing "people familiar with the matter." Those sources said that the complicating factor is the Chinese government's recently imposed requirement for it to review any potential sale. Such a review would be detailed and long, they added.

Woman recording a video with a smartphone placed on a tripod.

Image source: Getty Images.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, is unyielding in its stance. Trump told reporters on Thursday: "We'll either close up TikTok in this country for security reasons, or it will be sold. There will be no extension."

On Aug. 6, Trump issued an executive order giving ByteDance 45 days to sell TikTok; the order stipulates that if it fails to do so, it will be barred from doing business with U.S. individuals and organizations.

The move came in the wake of widespread concern about the app's security. In the executive order, the government wrote, "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."

"This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information," it added.

ByteDance strongly denies those allegations. It has filed a lawsuit against the government to quash the order.

Nevertheless, the company had been in talks with several potential buyers. Frequently mentioned were Microsoft (MSFT 1.50%), somewhat unexpectedly in partnership with retailer Walmart (WMT -0.38%), and Oracle (ORCL -0.06%). There were rumors that a buyer had been chosen, but this appears not to be the case.

Neither Microsoft nor Walmart nor Oracle has commented on the most recent developments with the app.

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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