Microsoft and video-sharing app TikTok owner Bytedance have put negotiations to buy the US operations of the app on hold after President Trump signaled opposition, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday citing people familiar with the matter.
The negotiations aren't believed to be dead, but the companies are trying to get clarity on White House's stance, the report said.
Trump's statements spurred TikTok to make additional concessions, including agreeing to add as many as 10,000 jobs in the US over the next three years, but it isn't clear if those will alter Trump's stance, the report said.
The founder of Bytedance, Zhang Yiming, also agreed to sell his stake as part of any deal, the report said.
This echoes a report by Reuters on Saturday which said ByteDance has agreed to divest the US operations of the app completely in a bid to save a deal with the White House.
ByteDance would exit completely and Microsoft would take over TikTok in the United States, the Reuters report said.
ByteDance was previously seeking to keep a minority stake in the US business of TikTok, which the White House had rejected.
Under the new proposed deal, some ByteDance investors that are based in the United States may be given the opportunity to take minority stakes in the business, the report said.
Microsoft was in advanced talks with Bytedance, gaining momentum toward a deal they believed met the White House goal for the popular app to get bought by a US company. However, those plans were interrupted when Trump told reporters on Air Force One that he preferred to ban the app and wouldn't support a sale, according to WSJ.
Before Trump's remarks, the two sides believed the broad strokes of a deal could be in place by Monday, the WSJ sources said.
The companies were caught off guard by the president's comments, said one person familiar with the matter. Another person said the White House has been involved in the discussions for weeks and made it clear from the outset that the desired outcome was for TikTok to be “American-owned.”