US President Donald Trump agreed to allow Microsoft to negotiate the acquisition of popular short-video app TikTok if it could secure a deal in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The move represents an about-face for Trump and prompted the US tech giant to declare its interest in the blockbuster social media deal that could further inflame US-China relations. Trump said on Friday he was planning to ban TikTok amid concerns that its Chinese ownership represents a national security risk because of the personal data it handles.
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The proposed acquisition of TikTok, which boasts 100 million US users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook and Snap. Microsoft also owns the professional social media network LinkedIn.
Trump had dismissed the idea of a sale to Microsoft on Friday. But following a discussion between Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the Redmond, Washington-based company said in a statement on Sunday that it would continue negotiations to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, and that it aimed to reach a deal by 15 September.