Microsoft is considering buying a bigger chunk of fast-growing social media giant TikTok.
According to a report in The Financial Times, Microsoft has discussed the possibility of buying TikTok’s business in Europe and India.
Previously, Microsoft had expressed an interest in TikTok’s business in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. TikTok’s U.S. business claims about 100 million users and could be valued in the range of $20 billion to $50 billion.
Adding the European and Indian operations to the mix would obviously boost that price tag. TikTok, a unit of Beijing-based ByteDance, does not operate in China.
President Donald Trump imposed a Sept. 15 deadline on a TikTok acquisition, threatening to shut down the platform for short-form video montages in the U.S. if a deal is not completed. He’s also requested a payment to the U.S. government as part of the deal.
“It’s probably easier to buy the whole thing than to buy 30% of it,” Trump said Monday. “How do you buy 30%? Who’s going to get the name? The name is hot. The brand is hot … my personal opinion is you’re probably better off buying the whole thing. I think buying 30% is complicated.”
In a statement on Sunday, Microsoft said it would move quickly to negotiate with ByteDance.
“During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President,” the company wrote.
The Financial Times, citing five people with knowledge of the deal, reported (subscription required) that Microsoft is interested in TikTok’s entire global business due to the complexity of separating back-end functions. A full acquisition would also allow users to seamlessly use the app between countries.
Microsoft can afford a bigger acquisition. Its market value stands at $1.6 trillion, and its cash, short-term investments stood at $136 billion as of June 30. The company’s largest acquisition to date was the $26.2 billion acquisition of business social media network LinkedIn in 2016.