Twitter has expressed an interest in acquiring TikTok, the popular app from Chinese developer ByteDance.
The Wall Street Journal says the two apps are in "preliminary" discussions about a possible combination. Sources said that the deal would only involve TikTok's US operations.
Last week Microsoft said publicly that it wanted to purchase TikTok's operations in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand from ByteDance, despite President Trump's outrage at the very thought. It later expanded the scope of its offer to include Europe and India, TikTok's biggest market (until it was banned in June).
Twitter is significantly smaller than Microsoft, which is perhaps the reason for only looking at the USA in any potential deal: the company has a market cap of about $29 billion, compared to Microsoft's $1.6 trillion.
‘Because it is much smaller, Twitter has reasoned that it would be unlikely to face the same level of antitrust scrutiny as Microsoft or other potential bidders, said people familiar with the discussions,' the WSJ wrote. However, no specifics about the deal have leaked yet.
"We don't comment on market rumors," TikTok's head of corporate communications Josh Gartner told Business Insider. Twitter declined to comment on the report.
TikTok, which allows people to share short clips of themselves and add effects and background music, is massively popular, with more than 100 million users in the USA alone. Despite only being released in 2016, it was one of the most-downloaded apps of the 2010s.
The app has not been without its controversies, mostly focused on security. It was temporarily banned in India last year for spreading sexually exploitive content and misinformation, and again in June this year, along with a host of other Chinese apps - apparently for security reasons (though there is evidence that may not be the whole story).
Both Twitter and TikTok remain silent on the rumour - but even if it is false, there are sure to be other potential bidders arriving soon.
Meanwhile, President Trump has signed an executive order to curtail US transactions with TikTok
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