By Echo Wang and Alexandra Alper
NEW YORK / WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Chinese company ByteDance has agreed to sell the U.S. operations of its popular TikTok app to salvage a deal with the White House, after President Donald Trump threatened to veto the online platform of short videos, two sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.
US authorities have said that TikTok represents a national security threat by being managed by a Chinese parent company, as it handles an enormous amount of user data.
The ByeDance award could change Trump’s position on TikTok, which has expressed its intention to ban a social network that has more than 80 million active users in the United States.
Trump on Friday told the media that he would issue an executive order to veto TikTok in the country starting Saturday morning.
“It is not the agreement you have been hearing about, that they are here to buy and sell … we are not a country for mergers and acquisitions,” Trump said.
ByteDance previously claimed to maintain a minority stake in TikTok’s US business, which the White House rejected.
Under the proposed new deal, ByteDance would go completely out of business in the United States, which would go into the hands of Microsoft, the sources said. Some investors in the United States-based ByteDance may have the opportunity to take minority stakes in the business, the sources added.
“The government harbors very serious national security fears about TikTok. We continue to evaluate future measures,” the White House said in a statement, declining to comment on whether Trump will accept ByeDance’s offer.
In Beijing, ByteDance also did not respond to a request for comment.
(Reports by Echo Wang in New York and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Edited in Spanish by Marion Giraldo)