Fox Business reports that Microsoft may enlist the help of massive private equity fund Blackstone Group, who manages more than $600 billion in assets, to purchase Chinese social network TikTok.
Microsoft initially indicated that it only wanted to purchase TikTok’s US business, reportedly for around $5 billion, but has since then expanded the scope to TikTok’s global business, said to be worth between $30 billion and $50 billion.
Microsoft is reportedly negotiating with TikTok’s current investors, such as General Atlantic Partners and Sequoia Capital, on how to structure the deal, with some versions seeing General Atlantic Partners and Sequoia Capital remaining partners in the new company.
Blackstone Group was reportedly initially quite enthusiastic, but interest has waned as the Trump administration has escalated pressure on Bytedance and Microsoft. Microsoft itself is apparently willing to walk away from the deal if it invites too much government scrutiny or a large investment in addition to the purchase price.
Twitter has also expressed interest, but with a market cap of only $29 billion the company will also need additional investment to make an offer.
The potential ban has reportedly resulted in a significant boost in downloads of TikTok. The company is said to have 800 million active users, 100 million of them in USA.