TikTok has reportedly chosen a buyer for its US, Australian, and New Zealand businesses.
According to a report from CNBC, the deal, which is reportedly worth between $20 billion to $30 billion USD, is expected to be announced as soon as tomorrow. It’s not clear who the ultimate winner will be, but Microsoft+Walmart and Oracle are expected to be the main contenders.
Under the terms of President Donald Trump’s first executive order on the matter, TikTok parent company ByteDance would have had to close a deal with its American bidder by the middle of September. It’s since extended that deadline to November, but it’s certainly in ByteDance’s best interest to get the deal inked sooner rather later.
That’s not to say that it’s smooth sailing from this point on, however. Late on Friday, Beijing issued new restrictions or bans on tech exports, requiring companies to seek government approval — a process that can take up to 30 days.
The rules, which hadn’t been updated since 2008, are believed to be aimed at delaying the sale of TikTok to US buyers, as ordered by the US president.
Some technologies were removed from the list of regulated exports, including vaccine technologies, but the 23 new additions included tech relating to AI interfaces, voice recognition, and content recommendation analysis.
In other words, ByteDance would have to get special dispensation from the Chinese government in order to sell its American interests, which could complicate the deal at the final hour. TikTok later issued a statement saying it would strictly abide by the new rules.
Last week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer stepped down from his role, citing the changing political environment as a reason for his departure. TikTok’s general manager in North America, Vanessa Pappas, took over his role as the company’s global chief.