ByteDance revealed a few days ago that the administration of US President (Joe Biden) had asked the Chinese owners of the short video service company TikTok to withdraw their stake or face a possible US ban. This means the transfer of ownership of the TikTok application to an American company, which ensures that the United States will prevent the Chinese government from accessing the data of American users of the application.
This announcement raised questions about the potential American company that might buy the application in the event of an agreement of this kind between the US government and ByteDance.
It seems that the process of selling the application to an American company is not that easy and that most of the major companies nominated to buy the application may face financial or legal obstacles that prevent the completion of the deal.
The most prominent problem that potential buyers may face is a financial problem, as experts estimate the value of the stake to be sold at between 40 and 100 billion US dollars, an amount that most companies may hesitate to bear its cost, especially in light of the difficult economic conditions that technology companies suffer from in these countries. Period.
Most companies that may be interested in purchasing the application and have the financial capacity to do so may face objections from the antitrust authorities in the United States. According to experts, companies that own social networks such as Alphabet, which owns YouTube, or Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, may be far from allowing them to make such a deal. Because the US Federal Trade Commission prevents giant companies from buying companies that have products that may lead to inflating the buyer’s control of the market in a way that may harm competition, as happened recently with Microsoft, which the Federal Trade Commission prevented from acquiring the gaming company Activision Blizzard.
Analysts said that if the Chinese government allowed ByteDance to sell TikTok, Microsoft, and Oracle might be the most likely candidates to acquire the app.
Microsoft currently has no social media apps, which makes it safe from antitrust regulators. The company also possesses the financial solvency that qualifies it to conclude such a deal, and this is based on its willingness to pay nearly seventy billion dollars to acquire Activision Blizzard. But if Microsoft manages to solve its problem with the antitrust authorities and actually acquires the gaming company, then the company’s ability to strike another huge deal to acquire TikTok becomes uncertain.
Analysts have pointed to Oracle as one of the potential buyers; This is because the company had already submitted an offer to acquire TikTok in partnership with Walmart in 2020, during former US President Donald Trump’s attempt to push for the sale, but the deal collapsed since Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House. Experts say that Oracle may not be willing to acquire TikTok this time due to the possibility of a higher price for the application than the price offered by the company at the time, and because the company has already spent nearly $28 billion acquiring Cerner, a health systems software company, in June of last year.
All of this speculation remains primarily related to the Chinese government’s approval of the potential deal, as the government’s refusal to grant permission to ByteDance to sell TikTok may mean that the application will end up being banned from the Google and Apple stores in the United States.