Trump gives TikTok 4 days to sell its US business or face closure
- US President Trump told reporters Thursday TikTok will not be granted an extension to sell off its US operations.
- Trump said TikTok has until September 15 to seal a deal, giving it just four days of negotiations.
- Bloomberg separately reported White House officials had been considering pushing back TikTok's deadline to accommodate complications arising from Beijing passing new technology export laws.
- It isn't clear that TikTok will find a buyer in time, and the company may choose to await the outcome of the presidential election in November.
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President Trump won't give TikTok extra time to seal a sale of its US operations, and said the firm only has until September 15 to find a buyer.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Trump said: "We'll see what happens. It'll either be closed up or they'll sell it. So we'll either close up TikTok in this country for security reasons, or it'll be sold."
He added: "I'm not extending deadlines, no. It's September 15th. There'll be no extension of the TikTok deadline."
Trump's affirmation came the same day Bloomberg reported White House officials were considering pushing back the deadline to give TikTok's parent company ByteDance more time to navigate new technology export laws passed by Beijing on August 28. Those new laws have complicated sale talks, since Chinese tech firms must now gain a special licence before trading with foreign entities.
The Wall Street Journal also reported Thursday that ByteDance is investigating whether it can negotiate a deal where it doesn't have to divest its US business at all. Currently there are two coalitions to buy TikTok US — a partnership between Microsoft and Walmart, and a bid led by Oracle and backed by a handful of ByteDance investors.
The Trump administration has been imprecise about when a sale needs to happen.
On August 3, Trump initially told reporters TikTok would have until September 15 to sell off its business.
Trump then signed two executive orders on August 6 and 14, effectively pressuring ByteDance to sell off TikTok's US business or face a ban.
The August 6 order gave a time limit of 45 days before banning all "transactions" between Americans and ByteDance — meaning a deadline of September 20.
The August 14 order gave ByteDance 90 days to sell off any assets enabling it to operate TikTok within the US. This would give a third deadline of November 12, notably falling after the November 3 presidential election.
Journalist Chris Stokel-Walker noted on Twitter that the Trump administration also has its own deadline, after TikTok filed a lawsuit claiming it was denied due process on August 24. The US government has until October 26 to respond to the case.
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