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According to reports, Twitter is in talks with TikTok about acquiring the popular social media app's business in the United States. Twitter thus becomes the second suitor for TikTik in the US after Microsoft confirmed its acquisition plans last week.
Donald Trump has given US companies a deadline to negotiate a deal with TikTok parent company, ByteDance, before bans the short video app on the grounds that it is sharing US citizen's data with the Chinese government. Something of a scramble has ensued, with Microsoft leading the charge to make the acquisition. It now looks like Twitter is interested too.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Twitter has held preliminary talks with ByteDance. The news was corroborated by Reuters. The Journal states that a deal between Twitter and TikTok would face "significant difficulties" and questions about whether Jack Dorsey and Co. have the financial might to take on Microsoft have been raised.
A message to the TikTok community. pic.twitter.com/UD3TR2HfEf— TikTok (@tiktok_us) August 1, 2020
TikTok's US operations have been valued by analysts to be worth around $30 billion. That's around the same as Twitter's own market capitalization. That would make a deal unlikely on the surface, but reports are suggesting that Silver Lake, the global private equity firm focused on large scale investments in technology and an investor in Twitter, is said to be interested in TikTok too. Others have also suggested that because Twitter is not operating in China, it may be seen more favorably in Beijing than Microsoft.
For now, Microsoft remains the favorite to win the bid for TikTok's US operations, but Twitter entering the race is certainly interesting. The successful bidder will want to get a deal done by September 15 to avoid missing Trump's deadline. Watch this space.