Twitter Has Held Preliminary Talks with TikTok

Posted on August 9, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Social with 6 Comments

A more suitable suitor for beleaguered social network TikTok has emerged: According to reports, Twitter has now spoken to the firm about a sale.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Twitter and TikTok have had preliminary discussions about a possible combination of the two services that would appease the U.S. government. The report cites multiple sources.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is still considered the front-runner to acquire some or all of TikTok’s non-China assets in a move that can only be viewed as a hostile takeover. Twitter’s bid, meanwhile, is more of a long-shot.

That said, Twitter would be the more natural fit, and Twitter’s chat-based service and TikTok’s short-form videos are complementary. Plus, unlike Microsoft, Twitter already has years of experience managing a social networking service and well understands the pitfalls.

Twitter is also much smaller than Microsoft and would thus face less scrutiny from regulators. Twitter is worth just $29 billion, compared to Microsoft’s $1.6 trillion, the publication notes. And unlike Microsoft, it would need outside help to float an acquisition as Twitter has only $7.8 billion in cash (compared to $136 billion for Microsoft). TikTok could be worth north of $30 billion.

According to the White House, TikTok has until September 15 to find a buyer for at least its U.S.-based operations. If that doesn’t happen, the government will attempt to ban TikTok in the U.S., a move that will surely trigger legal action.

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