The video sharing app is currently owned by China-based company ByteDance, which owns a number apps and services, but looks set to be taken over by US-based Microsoft.
President Trump has now U-turned and appears to have endorsed a deal between ByteDance and Microsoft, and even revealed that he expects a chunk of the sale price to land in the laps of the American government.
After speaking to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Trump revealed the pair had a ‘great conversation,’ in which he said the deal can’t be controlled by China ‘for security reasons,’ adding that he doesn’t mind a US company buying shares in TikTok.
‘And here’s the deal. I don’t mind if, whether it’s Microsoft or somebody else — a big company, a secure company, a very American company — buy it,’ he said, as Tech Crunch reports.
It’s probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30% of it. ‘Cause I say how do you do 30%? Who’s going to get the name? The name is hot, the brand is hot. And who’s going to get the name? How do you do that if it’s owned by two different companies? So, my personal opinion was, you are probably better off buying the whole thing rather than buying 30% of it. I think buying 30% is complicated.
Trump went on to say that he set a date of around September 15, when TikTok will be ‘out of business in the United States,’ unless the US company gets its hands on it.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of the conversation came when Trump confessed he thinks a substantial proportion of the money ‘is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States, because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen.’
Right now they don’t have any rights, unless we give it to ’em. So if we’re going to give them the rights, then it has to come into, it has to come into this country.
The president described it as a ‘landlord-tenant’ relationship, saying ‘the United States should be reimbursed, or should be paid a substantial amount of money because without the United States they don’t have anything, at least having to do with the 30%.’
Who’s going to tell him that’s not how it works?