TikTok’s business in the United States may have a shotgun wedding with Microsoft, which has aroused outcry from Chinese social media and criticism from a well-known Chinese investor from TikTok owner ByteDance.

After the US technology giant officially announced its interest on Sunday, US President Donald Trump withdrew the originally planned ban and gave the two companies a 45-day deal. Donald Trump cited the national security risks posed by short video apps owned by China.

The proposed acquisition of a part of TikTok, which has 100 million users in the United States, Microsoft with a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook and Snap.

Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, a social media network for professionals, is also seeking to acquire TikTok’s interests in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

ByteDance has not publicly confirmed the sale negotiations. However, in an internal letter sent to internal staff by Reuters on Monday, the company’s founder and CEO Zhang Yiming stated that the company has begun negotiations with a technology company, but the company has not determined that “we continue to be in the United States” TikTok application “clear the way. “.

However, reaching an agreement (which may be worth billions of dollars and providing lightning rods for undermining US-China relations) that satisfy all parties is a difficult task.

ByteDance investor and chairman of Primavera Capital Group, one of China’s most well-known private companies, said: “If a forced transaction under Washington’s shotgun could lead to unfavorable results for existing private shareholders, May trigger endless litigation.” Equity Group.

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Hu said that Microsoft is a reliable buyer, but questioned that selling most of TikTok’s business in TikTok’s early growth might be a good deal for ByteDance.

He said: “There is absolutely no reason. Bytedance is an innocent victim of crazy politics and crazy geopolitics. This is a sad result for Bytedance, corporate capitalism, and the future of global commerce.”

Technology bankers in Asia said that investment banks engaged in this transaction must be cautious and not contend with Trump.

A senior banker at Bank of America in Hong Kong said: “This is not a standard M&A situation…it is difficult to predict.” He said that this be a question of how to conduct transactions in a way that maintains Washington. happy.

Zhang Zai also said in his letter to employees that ByteDance disagrees with the position of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews national security risk transactions and must completely abandon TikTok’s US business.

The letter said: “We disagree with CFIUS’s conclusions, but added: “…We understand the current macro-environmental decision.

ByteDance did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The Chinese government declined to comment specifically on Washington’s forced sale of TikTok’s US operations.

After asked about the actions taken by the United States against Chinese software companies, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a briefing that the United States has been “emphasizing the concept of national security” and assumed that these companies are not guilty.

On Monday, the topic “ByteDance has agreed to divest TikTok’s US business” was one of the most discussed topics on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, with more than 920 million views.

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Some critics criticized ByteDance, saying that it did not show enough backbone power like Huawei’s technology, in the crosshairs of tensions between China and the United States, and now on the US trade blacklist.

“(ByteDance) knelt down so fast that it didn’t even wait for the Chinese government to take retaliatory action.” More than 5,000 “liked” comments said.

© Thomson Reuters 2020