THE NEUTRAL ZONE
TikTok could announce a potential buyer as soon as September 1, and there is speculation that either Microsoft, Oracle, or Walmart will win the deal. It will need to be finalized before the September 15 deadline for an upcoming U.S. ban.
Rumors arose that ByteDance, owner of TikTok, was going to announce the deal August 31, but over the weekend China issued restrictions on the export of artificial intelligence, which is reportedly halting some talks. Coincidently the AI TikTok uses to “spool” new videos for users is the portion of the app being restricted. ByteDance General Counsel Erich Andersen stated, “As with any cross-border transaction, we will follow the applicable laws, which in this case include those of the U.S. and China.”
With this move, the United States is now looking to “crack down” on additional Chinese companies. Peter Navarro, White House trade advisor, mentioned Monday, “It is critical that this country not use apps that are made in China, or that can take our data and go to servers in China. That data will be used to surveil, monitor and track you.”
In recent months, TikTok has suffered multiple blows. The app was banned in India in June and was subsequently banned in the U.S., leading to Tik Tok pursuing legal action against the U.S. federal government.
TikTok Is Up For Grabs – Seeking Alpha – 8/30/2020
On August 27, Walmart Inc announced it was in discussions with Microsoft Corporation about acquiring the US operations of popular short-video-oriented social firm TikTok from Beijing-based ByteDance. Given that Microsoft noted back on August 2 it was continuing discussions concerning a potential deal for TikTok’s US, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian operations, it is likely Walmart would be interested in acquiring an economic interest in those assets as well.
New Chinese rules could complicate a sale of TikTok’s US business – CNN – 8/31/2020
The twist in the TikTok saga stems from notices published by the Chinese government on Friday, when officials revised rules that govern the sale of certain kinds of technology to foreign buyers. The updated list includes data processing, speech and text recognition — the kind of tech that experts say is used by the popular short-form video app.
TikTok deal to sell U.S. business could be announced as soon as Tuesday – CNBC – 8/31/2020
TikTok has chosen a bidder for its U.S., New Zealand and Australian businesses, and it could announce the deal as soon as Tuesday, according to people familiar with the situation.
What’s Walmart see in TikTok? Millions of young shoppers – Los Angeles Times – 8/31/2020
Walmart could make TikTok an extension of its sales machine, helping advertisers, creators and others sell products. TikTok users swiping through and buying as part of their experience on the app might not even know of a Walmart connection.