Representatives from Twitter have approached the Chinese firm that owns TikTok to express interest in acquiring the U.S. operations of the popular short-form video app, according to multiple reports.
It remains unclear whether Twitter would move forward with a potential deal, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. It is also said to be uncertain whether the San Francisco-based company has the means to finalize a deal by the time President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s executive order restricting the use of TikTok in the U.S. goes into effect.
Microsoft, a company far bigger in size and market capitalization than Twitter, said earlier this month that it would pursue an acquisition of TikTok's U.S. operations. It is considered the favorite to score a deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Twitter declined to comment. TikTok did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
Trump last Thursday signed executive orders imposing broad sanctions on ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, and the Chinese owners of the messaging app WeChat. The move, which marked the latest escalation in the increasingly fractious relationship between the U.S. and China, set a deadline of Sept. 15 for an American company to acquire TikTok before a ban goes into effect.
The executive order stated that TikTok posed a national security risk, given its relationship with a Chinese firm and local laws in the country that allow for the seizure of user data. TikTok has strongly pushed back against suggestions that China can gain access to Americans' data through the app.
The company, which boasts more than 100 million U.S. users, has said that Americans' user data is stored in servers in the U.S. with strict controls on employee access.
Trump has indicated that he supports a company such as Microsoft acquiring TikTok to avoid an outright ban of the app. Several Republican lawmakers have also come out in support of such a scenario. However, Trump said last week that a portion of any sale of TikTok should be directed to the U.S. Treasury, considering the role he'd play in the deal.
Microsoft said in a statement ahead of the executive order that Chief Executive Satya Nadella spoke with Trump about pursuing an acquisition of the app's operations in the U.S. The tech giant pledged to work to finalize a deal by Sept. 15 but cautioned that its talks with ByteDance were preliminary and that there could be "no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed."