The approach to buying TikTok is in its early stages, and it is not known whether Microsoft will be successful in taking it back as the deal faces multiple hurdles, a person familiar with the negotiation said.
Microsoft declined to comment and TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was considering “a few options” to tackle TikTok, including a ban. The Financial Times reported this month that the White House had considered placing ByteDance on the “entity list,” which would effectively prevent it from doing business with US companies.
In addition, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reviewed the purchase of Musical.ly by ByteDance in 2017, which paved the way for TikTok’s growth. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday he would make a recommendation to Mr. Trump by the end of the week.
US investors led by General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital had discussed a takeover of TikTok in which ByteDance would retain a minority stake. Investors have had discussions with the Treasury on whether the buyout would address U.S. concerns about enforcement, the FT reported.