US has all the cards on potential TikTok sale: President Donald Trump
New Delhi: In a press conference held on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump doubled down on his demand that any sale of the infamous video making app TikTok to an American company will involve the US government receiving a “very big proportion”.
In the press conference, he added, “We have all the cards, without us, you can’t come into the United States.” However, the president did not give any information as to how he plans to force TikTok, which is owned by Chinese-based parent company ByteDance, to pay up or a potential buyer to share deal proceeds with the US government.
However, he claimed that TikTok and Microsoft, which are in the acquisition talks, have both agreed that the US should receive a pay-out.
Trump said, “If they make a deal for TikTok, whether it’s 30% in the United States or the whole company, I say, it’s okay, but if you do that, we’re really making it possible because we’re letting you operate here.”
He added that the treasury of the United States would also have to benefit from this.
Microsoft on Sunday confirmed that it’s in the talks to buy the viral video app developer. Trump claimed that both TikTok and Microsoft have agreed with his condition of cutting the deal with the US government. If reports are to be believed, TikTok has been privately valued as high as $50 billion. Additionally, in a blog post on Sunday, Microsoft said that it plans to continue the talks with TikTok following the talks between CEO Satya Nadella and President Trump.
The blog post stated that the company fully appreciates the importance of addressing Trump’s concerns. Moreover, they are committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.
Under the authority of a 1988 law, Trump can block foreign business deals pertaining to US companies when he considers the deals to be a security threat. He even used it twice before to block deals that involved firms from Singapore and China which were looking to acquire American companies. Last month he even threatened to ban the app altogether from operating in the country citing that the app could share data with Beijing or even spy on Americans.
As for the reason why Trump thought Microsoft to be an acceptable buyer was the fact of its “high-level” security clearances. These security clearances allow Microsoft to do business with the Department of Defence and other federal agencies.