Microsoft plans to finish its acquisition talks with TikTok within the next three weeks, ahead of the Sept. 15 deadline, CNBC’s David Faber reported Wednesday. The deal could be worth up to $30 billion.
If the deal goes through, Microsoft has already agreed with the U.S. government to bring TikTok’s code from China to the U.S. within one year. Faber also reported that the two sides haven’t landed on a price for TikTok yet, but it could be between $10 billion and $30 billion. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is “deeply involved” in process, according to Faber. President Donald Trump has said that the U.S. Treasury should get a cut of the acquisition, but it’s unclear how that would work or if it’s even legal.
Very few American companies have the bandwidth to transfer large amounts of data over to its own systems within a year, let alone afford the billions TikTok will cost. Microsoft checks both those boxes though. Microsoft could likely transfer TikTok’s software code, which could be up to 15 million lines of artificial intelligence, helping cement its position as the leading contender to acquire the company, Faber reported.
Microsoft confirmed in a blog post Sunday it has held talks with TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance to buy its business in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It’s currently the only apparent, leading bidder.
TikTok has been under fire from the Trump administration, which has accused the Chinese-owned app of collecting data on Americans and sending it to the Chinese government. (TikTok has repeatedly denied this.) President Donald Trump has stressed that he will ban the app if ByteDance doesn’t sell the widely-popular unit to an American company by September 15.