US: Trump administration's TikTok sale deadline extended by 15 days

Ramya Patelkhana
·3-min read

US: Trump administration
US: Trump administration

14 Nov 2020: US: Trump administration's TikTok sale deadline extended by 15 days

American authorities have given ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, additional time to divest the popular short-video platform's business to resolve national security concerns raised by the Trump administration.

The deadline set by the Commerce Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) for TikTok's parent firm to sell its US operations was extended by 15 days to November 27.

Here's more.

Details: Deadline extended from November 12 to November 27

A notice filed by ByteDance in a federal court has revealed that the authorities have extended the original deadline of November 12 to divest TikTok to November 27.

The Trump administration has been pushing for the Chinese owner of TikTok to either sell its popular video-sharing app to an American buyer or completely shut down its US business for months now.

Fact: TikTok had requested for a 30-day extension

Since ByteDance couldn't finalize a deal with potential buyers in the US, lawyers representing the Chinese-owned TikTok had reportedly asked the Trump administration to extend the November 12 deadline by 30 days. However, the Trump administration offered them only a 15-day extension.

Trump's order: Trump gave 90-day deadline to ByteDance in August

To recall, US President Donald Trump had given a 90-day deadline to ByteDance to divest TikTok's US operations and signed an executive order to this effect on August 14.

Claiming the Chinese-owned video-sharing service could be used for espionage against Americans by China, the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok unless it is sold to American companies. However, the ban was challenged in courts.

Potential deal: TikTok looking to partner with Oracle and Wal-Mart

This extension of the deadline essentially means that ByteDance now has time until November 27 to finalize a potential deal with American buyers.

According to reports, the company is now planning to partner with Oracle and Wal-Mart in the US, giving them a 20% stake in a newly-formed company called TikTok Global, and is seeking the government's approval for the same.

Petition: ByteDance filed petition in US Court of Appeals

Ahead of the November 12 deadline, TikTok's parent reportedly approached a US Court of Appeals on November 11 for a review of actions by the Trump administration's CFIUS.

The company said it hasn't heard anything from the committee regarding the deadline for weeks. It also said it is still interested in making a deal with American investors in order to address national safety concerns.

Uncertainty: Why did the Chinese company approach US Court of Appeals?

The CFIUS's November 12 deadline required ByteDance to "divest any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance's operation of the TikTok application in the United States."

However, the order didn't specify what happens if the Chinese company doesn't divest TikTok's US operations. This uncertainty prompted ByteDance to approach the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

On extension: This is what the CFIUS has said now

"The President's August 14 Order requires ByteDance and TikTok Inc. to undertake specific divestments and other measures to address the national security risk arising from ByteDance's acquisition of," said the CFIUS.

"This extension (of 15 days) will provide the parties and the Committee additional time to resolve this case in a manner that complies with the Order," it added.