According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitter has held preliminary discussions about a “combination” with TikTok, making the social media platform the latest possible acquirer of the popular video-sharing app, and it’s unclear whether Twitter will eventually complete the acquisition, after all, such a deal would be a big hurdle.
The biggest challenge to the deal is the Trump administration’s August 6 executive order, which prohibits Byte Dance, the parent company of TikTok, from processing transactions in the United States, effective within 45 days. The U.S. government sees the Chinese-funded app as a potential security threat, although there is no public evidence that Byte Dance or TikTok shared U.S. data with the Chinese government. TikTok has previously said it plans to challenge the Trump administration’s order and that the lawsuit will take place around next Tuesday.
Microsoft is the only company to publicly admit it is in talks with Byte Dance, the owner of TikTok, about a possible takeover. The Wall Street Journal says Twitter is seen as a more likely company in its bid for TikTok, and Microsoft is undoubtedly the front-runner in the current deal.
Twitter is much smaller than Microsoft, and the social platform may face less antitrust scrutiny than Microsoft, but Twitter doesn’t have as much money as Microsoft for a possible acquisition, and any deal with Twitter would involve TikTok’s U.S. operations.
Microsoft said in an August 2 blog post that its CEO, Satya Nadella, had spoken to President Trump about a possible TikTok acquisition, including TikTok’s operations in the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Microsoft said it expects its talks to close on September 15.
Twitter declined to comment. A spokesman for TikTok also said the company does not comment on market rumors.