US officials are reportedly considering extending the deadline for TikTok’s sale as the deal faces roadblocks

zhang yiming donald trump tiktok bytedance
Donald Trump, left, and ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming.
  • The US government has been trying for months to force ByteDance to sell off its TikTok business in the US, and established a deadline of September 15 for the deal to be finalized.
  • However, the deal has hit a number of snags along the way. Bloomberg reports this week that ByteDance is "increasingly likely" to miss the September 15 deadline, and that White House officials are considering offering the Chinese company an extension on the deal.
  • The deadline was first set by President Donald Trump. Since then, Trump has issued two executive orders that have appeared to extend the deadline, first to September 20, then to mid-November.
  • It's also unclear what will happen come September 15 — or any other government-imposed deadline — if a deal for TikTok's sale has yet to be finalized.
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After a week of setbacks that hinted a deal may not be finalized in time, US government officials are considering extending the deadline it imposed on ByteDance to sell off TikTok's US operations. 

Bloomberg reports that the White House may push back the September 15 deadline President Donald Trump first set in early August to force ByteDance's hand to sell off TikTok's US assets or face a ban. Officials have not yet approached Trump about a possible deadline extension, Bloomberg reports, raising questions whether the president would approve a move.

A US company acquiring TikTok would address the US government's national security concerns and avoid Donald Trump's threat to ban the app nationwide because of ByteDance's headquarters in China. 

However, talks have stalled recently after China set new restrictions on exports of artificial-intelligence technology, requiring Chinese companies to get approval from the state government to conduct trade. The new rules could potentially give China the authority to block the export of TikTok's AI, which includes the vital algorithm that powers the app's addictive "For You" feed of videos.

Earlier reports indicated that due to a myriad of technical and political issues, ByteDance would likely need more time to solidify the TikTok deal. ByteDance is now reportedly surfacing "possible arrangements" that would keep the company from having to sell TikTok's US operations in full.

Talks about a possible sale of TikTok's US business trace back to July. In the absence of a deal, the Trump administration's power to impose such a ban on TikTok or take action against ByteDance — as well as its national-security accusations — remains unclear. 

It's also unclear what will happen come September 15, the date the Trump administration first set that TikTok employees have taken to calling "D-Day." Trump's actions since then have made it unclear what the true deadline could be: Trump's first executive order set a September 20 date for banning Americans from making "any transactions" with TikTok and ByteDance. A second executive order a week later seemed to extend a deadline for a TikTok deal to November 12 — more than a week after the US presidential election.

The race for a stake in TikTok's assets — a deal valued between $20 billion and $50 billion — has surfaced names like Microsoft, Oracle, Walmart, and SoftBank as potential buyers. The frontrunners in the bidding war have appeared to be two groups: a joint offer between Microsoft and Walmart that's backed by ByteDance's CEO, and another from Oracle, which has the support of President Trump and a group of ByteDance's US investors.

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