Microsoft Corp. is said to be interested in buying the UK operations of popular music video app TikTok, while already in discussions to buy other parts of its business.
Microsoft (MSFT) is in talks to buy TikTok’s operations in the US, as well as its markets in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. For now, it’s unclear if TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd. wants to sell the UK unit and if a formal offer for the UK unit will be made, Fox Business News reported, citing a banker it didn’t identify.
In early August, the UK government said that it has no plans to ban the ByteDance platform in the country. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Friday formally ordered the Chinese owner of TikTok to divest its US assets setting a 90-day deadline for a deal to be announced by Sept. 15 or face a ban.
“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance, an exempted company with limited liability incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands […] might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” the executive order signed by President Trump read.
The report comes as TikTok is mulling to move its US headquarters to London as it waits for a public statement of support from the British government, the South China Morning Post said last week.
Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley analyst Keith Weiss said he views a potential deal with Microsoft to be "a compelling strategic fit" that would give the tech giant a dynamic and fast growing springboard to expand its social media presence.
Weiss believes TikTok is likely "well under-monetized" and believes that there are multiple channels of potential revenue synergies, such as in gaming, commerce and education. The analyst has a Buy rating on MSFT with a $230 price target. (See Microsoft stock analysis on TipRanks).
Overall, Wall Street analysts share Weiss’ bullish outlook on the stock. The Strong Buy consensus scores 27 Buy ratings versus 3 Hold. With shares up 32% this year, the average price target of $225.54 still implies 9.4% upside potential over the coming year.
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