Mr. Trump went wild again after allowing Microsoft to continue takeover talks with Byte Dance. At Monday’s briefing, Mr. Trump told reporters that the U.S. could make the acquisition possible, so the government should charge a large portion of the “program fee” for the deal, whether it’s from China or Microsoft.
In response to Mr. Trump’s offer to collect a commission on mergers and acquisitions, two lawyers and an investor interviewed by First Financial said there was “no precedent” and that they saw no legal basis for Mr. Trump’s claim.
“As far as I know, this has not happened in American history, ” a partner at Alston and Bird told First Financial. Zhang Jun, an American legal scholar and barrister, also told First Financial: “This form of commission has no legal basis.” “
“The president’s request to inject some of the money into the U.S. treasury is not based on antitrust laws,” said Gene Kimmelman, a former chief adviser to the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division and a senior adviser to Public Knowledge, a policy group. It’s very unusual and unreasonable, and it’s actually hard to understand what the president of the United States is saying. “
A partner at Qiming Ventures also told First Financial: “The Trump administration’s comments are complete nonsense and it is illegal to impose commissions from transactions. “
On Monday, after a conversation with Microsoft’s CEO, Mr. Trump changed his mind, saying he was not opposed to Microsoft’s acquisition of TikTok, or even wanted Microsoft to buy TikTok, not just 30 percent.
“In this way, the US government has acquiesced in Microsoft’s acquisition of TikTok, which is the equivalent of a buyer of the government’s ‘point of view’. Although antitrust filings are still required based on the amount of the deal, the likelihood that the government will block an acquisition because of the antitrust is much lower. The partner at Auston International Law Firm told First Financial.
“Microsoft’s acquisition of TikTok is firmly on the board as long as the U.S. government doesn’t object,” the partner told First Financial. “
But on Monday, Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, made another bold move, saying Microsoft should spin off its Chinese-owned business if it wants to buy TikTok, a Chinese-owned short-video app.
“Microsoft currently has more than 6,000 employees in China and offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. But Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said earlier this year that Microsoft’s business in China accounted for only about 1 per cent of the company’s total revenue.