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TikTok Granted One-Week Extension of Forced-Sale Deadline

By Bloomberg / Nov 26, 2020 11:44 AM / World

The Trump administration has given TikTok’s Chinese owner another week to complete a sale of its popular video-sharing app in order to resolve U.S. national security concerns.

The new deadline, which had already been extended by 15 days, is Dec. 4, TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd. said in a court filing Wednesday.

The fate of TikTok, an app that’s been downloaded more than 100 million times in the U.S., has been caught up for months in U.S. President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Chinese technology companies. The administration has argued that American’s private data gathered through the app could be siphoned off to the authoritarian regime in China, something TikTok has said it would never do. Trump had ordered in August that the app be sold to an American firm or face a ban in the U.S.

To assuage Trump’s concerns, ByteDance forged a deal in September to sell a stake of a spun out TikTok business to Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. The deal was never finalized though, because the companies didn’t receive a sign-off from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., known as Cfius, a panel led by the Treasury Department.

A Treasury spokesperson said it granted ByteDance a one-week extension to allow time to review a revised submission that Cfius recently received.

TikTok has filed multiple challenges against the ban, which are winding their way through the court system, with deadlines in certain proceedings extending past January. Several judges have already blocked the ban from going into effect and the Commerce Department said it would comply with those court rulings as the government appeals.

Those cases could lapse when President-Elect Joe Biden takes office in January, unless he decides to enforce the Trump ban and defend the previous administration’s orders in court.

The penalties that ByteDance would face if it failed to sell TikTok to a U.S. company by the deadline were never clearly spelled out, though the order said the Justice Department could take “any steps necessary” to enforce the sale.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: It’s No TikTok, But China’s No. 2 Short Video App Beats Larger Rival to Market


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