With just a half month left to negotiate a buy-out, or face a potential boycott in the U.S., the pressure is on for TikTok, and its potential suitors, to get the details of any such deal straight. They also need to establish what the platform is tangibly worth and whether it’s a feasible possibility for their plans.
Only one company has publicly stated that it’s hoping to purchase the short-form video app, however lately, two more organizations have reportedly expressed an interest in buying the app - though in slightly altered form to the Microsoft proposal.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter had held preliminary talks about “a potential combination with TikTok”, which would enable the platform to continue operating in the U.S., in partnership with Twitter. That inspired many mocking tweets from those within the tech sector - ‘didn’t Twitter already own Vine, which was essentially TikTok before TikTok?’
Why Twitter might take that path again seems strange, if you consider that TikTok is in virtually the same position as Vine was at its peak, with significant cultural success, but limited avenues for monetization. There would be some significant hurdles to overcome in any such deal as currently TikTok is valued at $30 billion while Twitter sits at $29 billion.
There’s not much detail to go on, some reports indicate more of a focus on a partnership-type arrangement, as opposed to a takeover. Overall this still seems odd. Sure, short-form video is in Twitter’s wheelhouse (again, ala Vine) and improved integration of TikTok sharing on Twitter could work, somehow. But TikTok also has moderation concerns, the censorship issues - the challenges TikTok faces moving forward have not been critical areas of strength for Jack Dorsey and Co.
Reports have also suggested that investment firm Sequoia Capital, which first invested in ByteDance back in 2014, is also looking at ways in which it might be able to wrest the U.S. operations of TikTok from the company, to keep the app alive.
As per WSJ:
“Sequoia’s global managing partner, in recent weeks has been pressing contacts in the [Trump] administration. Including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, to craft a solution that would enable TikTok to keep operating in the U.S., according to people familiar with those discussions.”
In essence, it’s fair to say that a potential Twitter takeover of, or tie-up with TikTok is a long shot if it’s any shot at all. I wouldn’t envision a new feed of TikTok content alongside your Twitter feed anytime soon.