Microsoft confirms talks seeking to buy US arm of TikTok

A man wearing a shirt promoting TikTok is seen at an Apple store in Beijing on Friday, July 17, 2020. U. S. President Donald Trump says he wants to take action to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A man wearing a shirt promoting TikTok is seen at an Apple store in Beijing on Friday, July 17, 2020. U. S. President Donald Trump says he wants to take action to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of national security and censorship concerns. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Microsoft confirmed Sunday it is in talks with Chinese company ByteDance to acquire the U.S. arm of its popular video app TikTok and has discussed with President Donald Trump his concerns about security and censorship surrounding such an acquisition.

In a statement, Microsoft said Microsoft and ByteDance have provided notice of their intent to explore a deal resulting in Microsoft owning and operating the TikTok service in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The company said it expects those talks to conclude by Sept. 15.

Trump said on Friday that he would soon ban TikTok in the United States. Trump and CEO Satya Nadella have spoken, the company said, and Microsoft was prepared to continue exploring the purchase of TikTok's U.S. operations after their conversation.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the Microsoft statement said.

The White House did not immediately comment on the Microsoft statement.

Previously, there were reports that Microsoft was in advanced talks to buy the U.S. operations of TikTok, which has been a source of national security and censorship concerns for the Trump administration. Earlier Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again raised the administration's warnings about social media platform.

“These Chinese software companies doing business in the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat — there are countless more ... are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus,” Pompeo said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to. Those — those are the issues that President Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of," Pompeo said.