Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, reportedly entertained making an investment in the U.S. operations of TikTok. According to Bloomberg, the investment would have been part of a group bid led by an unknown company.
Alphabet’s investment would have given the conglomerate a minority, non-voting stake through one of its investment arms. Bloomberg points to CapitalG, a private equity arm, as being a possible investor. As of now, Alphabet’s interest has reportedly “fizzled in recent days,” although it could still participate in future bids. It’s unclear how many companies were part of the consortium trying for a larger bid.
Over the past few years, TikTok has emerged as one of the most popular video sharing services on the market. Bloomberg notes that it has over 100 million users in the U.S. alone, but its rise in popularity has put it at the center of controversy. Officials in Washington have accused ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, of having ties with the Chinese government, potentially posing a national security risk. As a result, President Trump has threatened to cut off access to TikTok in the U.S.
TikTok has until November 12 to find a buyer before the social media app is banned in the U.S. Microsoft previously emerged as a suitor, while Oracle and Twitter were also allegedly interested in potentially making a bid. While Alphabet is allegedly interested in grabbing a minority stake in TikTok, Bloomberg reports an outright acquisition is impossible given the regulatory headaches that could arise. Besides, YouTube is already working on its own TikTok-style service called YouTube Shorts.
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