ByteDance Gets 15-Day Extension on US Order to Divest TikTok

The Trump administration granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of a divestiture order that had directed the Chinese company to sell its TikTok short video-sharing app by Thursday.

TikTok first disclosed the extension earlier in a court filing, saying it now has until November 27 to reach an agreement. Under pressure from the US government, ByteDance has been in talks for a deal with Walmart and Oracle to shift TikTok’s US assets into a new entity.

The Treasury Department said on Friday the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) granted the 15-day extension to “provide the parties and the committee additional time to resolve this case in a manner that complies with the Order.”

ByteDance filed a petition on Tuesday with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the Trump administration divestiture order.

ByteDance said on Tuesday CFIUS seeks “to compel the wholesale divestment of TikTok, a multibillion-dollar business built on technology developed by” ByteDance and based on the government’s review of the Chinese company’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly.

President Donald Trump in an August 14 order had directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days.

The Trump administration contends TikTok poses national security concerns, saying the personal data of US users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok, which has over 100 million US users, denies the allegations.

Trump has said the Walmart-Oracle deal had his “blessing.”

One big issue that has persisted is over the ownership structure of the new company, TikTok Global, which would own TikTok’s US assets.

In Tuesday’s court filing, ByteDance said it submitted a fourth proposal last Friday that contemplated addressing US concerns “by creating a new entity, wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing US investors in ByteDance, that would be responsible for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.”

Separate restrictions on TikTok from the US Commerce Department have been blocked by federal courts, including transaction curbs scheduled to take effect on Thursday that TikTok warned could effectively ban the app’s use in the United States.

A Commerce Department ban on Apple and Alphabet’s Google offering TikTok for download for new US users that had been set to take effect on September 27 has also been blocked.

© Thomson Reuters 2020


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