TikTok reportedly has another suitor.
The beleaguered app — which has 45 days to be sold off by its Chinese parent, ByteDance, in order to operate in the U.S., per an executive order signed last week by President Trump — is also hosting preliminary talks with Twitter, Reuters reports. The discussions were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Reuters notes that it is unclear whether Twitter could afford the app, though it is a compelling prospect given that Twitter formerly owned Vine — a micro-video app that is often likened to a TikTok progenitor of sorts, but was shuttered in 2016. Twitter’s market cap is $30 billion, and would need to raise additional capital to fund a purchase of TikTok’s assets in the U.S., Reuters reports.
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That said, one of Twitter’s shareholders, Silver Lake, is interested in funding such a takeover. And Reuters reports that Twitter may face less regulatory scrutiny and pressure from China given that it doesn’t operate there. Nevertheless, Microsoft — which does operate in China — is still seen as the frontrunner as acquisition talks forge onward.
The relatively rapid sale process was precipitated by Trump, who signed an executive order last week barring the use of not only TikTok but the Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat in the U.S. due to ongoing concerns that both apps are sharing data from American users with the Chinese government. The orders give both apps 45 days to find new owners. Trump has even suggested — highly unusually, experts say — that the U.S. government should be given some of the proceeds of TikTok’s sale.
And now, NPR reports that TikTok is planning to sue the Trump administration to challenge the executive order, with a suit arriving as soon as tomorrow. The suit will reportedly argue that Trump’s actions are unconstitutional because they did not give TikTok a chance to respond to the allegations. It will also allege that the national security concerns within the ban are baseless.
“We are shocked by the recent executive order, which was issued without any due process,” TikTok said of the order in a statement, per NPR. “The text of the decision makes it plain that there has been a reliance on unnamed ‘reports’ with no citations, fears that the app ‘may be’ used for misinformation campaigns with no substantiation of such fears, and concerns about the collection of data that is industry standard for thousands of mobile apps around the world.”