Google's parent company Alphabet planned TikTok acquisition ahead of US ban, but talks 'fizzled out', reports claim

Microsoft, Twitter, and Oracle have all also reportedly expressed interests in buying the viral video app

Adam Smith
Monday 24 August 2020 13:24
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Google’s parent company Alphabet reportedly considered buying a share of the viral video app TikTok.

Alphabet was going to purchase a minority, non-voting stake through via of its investment companies, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Alphabet was not the main player in these negotiations, but the talks “fizzled in recent days”, the report claimed.

When contacted by The Independent for confirmation of such talks, Alphabet declined to comment. TikTok did not respond to a request for comment by publication.

As well as Alphabet, many other companies have come forward with the intention to purchase TikTok. Most likely is Microsoft, which is seemingly the longest-running contender and has publicly announced its interest in the viral video app, but Twitter and Oracle have also reportedly shown interest.

TikTok, which is currently owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, faces a ban in the United States if it is not sold to a US company.

This is at the behest of president Trump, who believes TikTok is spying on US users and is sending or could be forced to share data with Beijing.

TikTok has denied any allegations that it would do so, and has since said it is suing the Trump administration.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the Trump administration will not allow TikTok to continue its current form. Mr Trump has said that the US treasury should receive a “substantial portion” of money in an acquisition deal because the US is ”making it possible for this deal to happen”.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the purchase of TikTok by a US company would set “a really bad long-term precedent”.

“I am really worried ... it could very well have long-term consequences in other countries around the world”, he also said. Facebook had recently rolled out ‘reels’, a feature of Instagram that TikTok has called a “copycat product”.

As well as TikTok, Mr Trump is also taking action via executive order against Chinese messaging platform WeChat, making similar allegations against it as against TikTok.

This could have greater ramifications than the TikTok ban due to the app’s ubiquity in China, and both Apple and Disney have both warned against the block. WeChat has more than 1.2 billion monthly active users, many of them in China.

It has been forecasted that a WeChat ban could cause up to a 30 per cent decline in iPhone sales. Approximately 95 percent of 1.2 million people who answered a Weibo survey said they would switch to an Android smartphone over an iPhone rather than give up WeChat.

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