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Microsoft Stock Jumps 4% on TikTok Acquisition Talks

Tech giant is trading near its all-time high as it looks to buy the wildly-popular video app’s U.S. operations

Microsoft’s share price jumped on Monday morning, a day after the tech giant confirmed it’s moving forward with talks to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations, as well as the company’s operations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

A little more than an hour into trading on Monday, Microsoft’s stock price was up about 4% to $213.50 per share. The jump puts the company within striking distance of hitting its all-time high of $216.38, which it hit earlier this month.

On Sunday, Microsoft said it was still looking to acquire TikTok’s U.S. business from Bytedance, its Beijing-based parent company, as the wildly-popular video app faces a potential ban from President Trump over national security concerns. Microsoft said it was continuing negotiations after CEO Satya Nadella had talked to President Trump about the potential deal. The company also said it will have to move quickly, with a Sept. 15 deadline set for when the deal could be completed.

“Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury,” the company said in its statement. 

“Microsoft would ensure that all private data of TikTok’s American users is transferred to and remains in the United States,” the company went on. “To the extent that any such data is currently stored or backed-up outside the United States, Microsoft would ensure that this data is deleted from servers outside the country after it is transferred.”

For his part, Nadella has spearheaded several acquisitions since taking the reins at Microsoft in 2014. Perhaps most notably, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for more than $26 billion in 2016. 

Bytedance bought Musical.ly, another popular lip-syncing app, in late 2017. Bytedance later merged the app with TikTok, its homegrown app allowing users to create short videos set to music. TikTok has since become one of the most popular apps in the world, boasting more than 800 million users and regularly sitting atop Apple and Google’s app store rankings.

Despite TikTok’s popularity, critics have grown increasingly concerned the app doubles as a data collection tool for China’s communist government. TikTok has denied ever sharing user data with Chinese authorities. But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson recently pointed out TikTok’s privacy policy explicitly says it “may share” user information “with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” which, based on how companies operate in China, means data can be sent to authorities.

Thompson explained further: “It is important to note, this would be the case even if the privacy policy were not so honest. All Chinese Internet companies are compelled by the country’s National Intelligence Law to turn over any and all data that the government demands, and that power is not limited by China’s borders. Moreover, this requisition of data is not subject to warrants or courts, as is the case with U.S. government requests for data from Facebook or any other entity.”