American software and tech giant, Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy TikTok, the United States is preparing to force Chinese company ByteDance to sell its U.S. assets for the short video app over concerns that Chinese ownership could jeopardize personal data, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The move would represent a major blow for the Beijing-based company, which became one of only a handful of truly global Chinese conglomerates thanks to TikTok’s commercial success.
It was not immediately clear how the separation would happen and what ByteDance would do with the rest of TikTok’s global operations. An announcement could come as early as Friday, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the matter is confidential.
News outlets including Fox Business and The New York Times reported Friday that Microsoft is in talks to buy the U.S. version of TikTok.
ByteDance and the U.S. Treasury Department, which chairs the government panel that has been reviewing ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok, declined to comment.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Wednesday that TikTok was under a national security review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and that he would be making a recommendation to President Donald Trump this week.
“We are looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok, we maybe doing some other things or a couple of options, but a lot of things are happening,” Trump told reporters on Friday