ByteDance negotiating with the US to avoid TikTok sale

Hands holding a smartphone displaying TikTok logo with laptop in background
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ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, is negotiating with the U.S. government to avoid selling off its U.S. operations, according to those familiar with the matter.

The TikTok sale became more complicated when China tightened restrictions surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) technology exports, forcing ByteDance to pause and assess how the new rules might impact the sale. The most important question is whether or not the restrictions will prevent ByteDance from including TikTok’s core algorithms in the sale.

According to Reuters via CNBC, several options remain, including striking a deal for a U.S. tech partner to secure TikTok’s user data. That company could also land a minority stake in the video-sharing app as part of the deal.

The security of TikTok’s data and keeping it out of the Chinese government’s hands remains a top priority, though.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he wants an American company to purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations. ByteDance is currently in talks to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft, which may team up with Walmart or Oracle to complete the purchase.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley said the department “is focused solely at this time on discussions associated with the sale of TikTok in accordance with the August 14 divestiture order signed by the President.”

TikTok has filed a lawsuit challenging the president’s executive order that will essentially ban TikTok in the U.S. if it can’t find a buyer. In the Aug. 6 executive order, the Trump administration gave ByteDance 45 days to divest its U.S. operations before banning the app altogether. An order signed on Aug. 14 extended the deadline to 90 days, giving ByteDance until Nov. 12 to complete the sale.