TikTok’s parent ByteDance reportedly preparing to shut down app if it’s not sold

TikTok’s parent company is getting ready to shut down its American operations in the event that a sale doesn’t materialize in the next few months, according to a report.

President Trump signed an executive order earlier this month ordering ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US business to a “very American company” or be banned from operating in the country.

Though TikTok’s parent, Beijing-based ByteDance, is reportedly on the cusp of reaching a deal with Microsoft and Walmart, it told engineers in a memo to draw up contingency plans to kill the mega-popular video platform, according to Reuters.

The Chinese company is also making separate plans for TikTok’s American employees and vendors to be compensated in the event that the app is banned. TikTok has already implemented a hiring freeze in the US for most open positions due to the uncertainty surrounding its future, according to the report.

ByteDance doesn’t anticipate needing to pull the kill-switch, however, and a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement that the company is “confident that we will reach a resolution that ensures TikTok is here for the long run.”

“As any responsible company would do, we are simultaneously developing plans to try to ensure that our US employees continue to get paid in any outcome,” they said.

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quit his post on Thursday after reportedly being left out of sale negotiations with both Microsoft and Oracle.

Walmart has confirmed its interest in the app, saying that it envisions TikTok providing it “with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising business.”


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