US President Donald Trump has said that the country should get a large percentage of the proceeds if part of the short video-sharing platform TikTok’s business is bought by an American firm.
Trump said that he made the demand that a “substantial portion” of that price should come into the US Treasury during a conversation with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella over the weekend.
Microsoft on Sunday confirmed that it wanted to proceed with talks to purchase the US business of TikTok.
The discussion between the Microsoft CEO and the US President led to setting a date for closure of the deal around September 15.
If such a deal does not materialise, TikTok will be out of business in the US by that time, Trump said.
“I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump said in a meeting with US tech workers on Monday.
He even explained the rationale behind his demand.
“It’s a little bit like the landlord/tenant: Without a lease, the tenant has nothing. So they pay what’s called ‘key money,’ or they pay something,” Trump said.
“But the United States should be reimbursed or should be paid a substantial amount of money, because without the United States, they don’t have anything — at least having to do with the 30 per cent,” he said.
Trump said he does not mind if Microsoft, or any other “secure” American company, buys TikTok’s business in the US and he also shared the observation with the Microsoft CEO that that it is “probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30 per cent of it.”
TikTok, owned by Chinese unicorn ByteDance, is facing scrutiny over its data sharing practices.
The Trump administration has raised allegations that TikTok provided users data to Chinese government.
Both Beijing and TikTok have denied the allegations.