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TikTok says it has ‘no choice’ but to sue Trump administration over threatened U.S. ban

TikTok said on Monday that “we simply have no choice” but to sue the Trump administration over U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order banning transactions in the United States with the popular short-form video-sharing app.

In a blog post, TikTok said it strongly disagreed with the White House’s position that the company was a national security threat, saying it had “taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s U.S. user data.”

It also said the administration has ignored its “extensive efforts” to address its concerns, and accused Trump of politicizing the dispute by calling for a ban on TikTok in an Aug. 6 executive order.

“We do not take suing the government lightly,” TikTok said. “But with the Executive Order threatening to bring a ban on our U.S. operations … we simply have no choice.”

The White House was not immediately available to comment.

TikTok’s complaint is expected to be filed later on Monday.

Amid growing distrust between Washington and Beijing, Trump has for weeks complained that TikTok, owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance Ltd, was a national security threat and might share information about users with the Chinese government.

His Aug. 6 executive order called for banning transactions with the app after 45 days.

Trump issued a separate executive order on Aug. 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to pest TikTok’s U.S. operations and any data TikTok had gathered in the United States.

Reuters reported last week that TikTok was preparing to mount a legal challenge as early as Monday to Trump’s Aug. 6 order.

ByteDance had acquired Shanghai-based video app Musical.ly in a $1 billion transaction in 2017, and relaunched it as TikTok the following year.

In its blog post, TikTok said the Trump administration violated its constitutional right to due process by banning the company without notice.

It accused Trump of misusing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which lets the president regulate international commerce during a national emergency.

Trump had in May 2019 invoked that law to stop alleged efforts by foreign telecommunications companies to conduct economic and industrial espionage against the United States.

But TikTok said the Aug. 6 executive order was not supported by the emergency Trump declared a year earlier, and that the company did not provide the types of technology and services contemplated at that time.

It also said the executive order was not rooted in genuine national security concerns, adding: “We believe the Administration’s decisions were heavily politicized, and industry experts have said the same.”

ByteDance has been in talks to sell TikTok’s North American, Australian and New Zealand operations to companies including Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp .

Those assets could be worth $25 billion to $30 billion, people familiar with the matter have said.

Before buying TikTok, ByteDance had not sought advance approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews acquisitions for potential national security risks.

CFIUS later opened an investigation, and according to TikTok “repeatedly refused” to engage with ByteDance before saying it had found national security risks associated with the purchase.

Walmart joins Microsoft in pursuit of deal to acquire TikTok

By Matthew Boyle

Walmart Inc. has teamed up with Microsoft Corp. in a joint bid to acquire TikTok, a surprise move that signals the retail giant’s desire to become a force in technology and media and reach younger shoppers.

Walmart said in an emailed statement that the move could help grow its third-party online marketplace unit along with its nascent advertising arm, two areas that Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon has said he’d like to expand. The two companies already work together, as Walmart uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform across the entire company.

Walmart’s shares jumped as much as 3.6% to $135.47 in New York following news of the joint pursuit of TikTok, the biggest intraday gain since July 7.

Microsoft has been in discussions for weeks to buy TikTok’s business in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Other companies have also emerged as potential bidders, including Oracle Corp. and Twitter Inc. It’s unclear how far those discussions have gone. Microsoft is the only company to publicly confirm acquisition talks.

Walmart’s interest in the popular app shows how serious McMillon is about moving the world’s biggest retailer into the faster-growing arena of media and online content. It has partnered, and bought a stake in, Israeli video-production company Eko, which has developed things like interactive toy catalogs for Walmart.

Vudu Sale

Other moves have failed, though: Walmart sold it video-streaming service Vudu earlier this year, as the business had been leapfrogged by subscription services like Netflix and Hulu.

TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance Ltd., is fielding interest in its operations in the U.S. and a handful of other countries. President Donald Trump recently ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok’s U.S. assets within 90 days.

In Video: Walmart Inc. has teamed up with Microsoft Corp in a joint bid to acquire TikTok