Apple has no plans to pursue TikTok, despite report it expressed interest

Tim Cook
Tim Cook (Image credit: Apple)

Tim Cook

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Update, August 4 (11:10 am ET): In a statement to The Verge, an Apple spokesperson said that the company has no plans to purchase TikTok. The original story follows.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft might not be the only party interested in TikTok.
  • Axios reports that Apple has also expressed interest.
  • If anyone has the money, it's Apple.

A new report from Axios claims Apple has expressed interest in buying TikTok.

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According to the report:

Multiple sources tell me that Apple has expressed interest, albeit no sources inside of Apple, and that at least one other strategic has expressed interest. Yes, it would be an unusual deal for Apple, given that TikTok is a cross-platform app, and a bigger political headache than Tim Cook may want (both here and in China). But if anyone has the cash on hand...

Recently, it was thought Microsoft was the only big buyer in the mix, and President Trump has given the company 45 days to get a deal done. The news doesn't come from a source within Apple, but reportedly from "multiple" other sources.

According to the report, other private equity firms are currently circling, and it was recently reported that ByteDance investors had expressed interest themselves. According to that report, TikTok is valued at $50 billion.

President Trump has reiterated that the U.S. Treasury "would need to get a portion of the sale price of TikTok, as a condition of regulatory approval" and has threatened to ban the app if the sale doesn't go through. Such an ultimatum is likely to dent TikTok's value somewhat, which might be forced to push through a quick sale for less money if it isn't to risk seeing its U.S. presence disappear.

According to ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming, the company believes President Trump's "primary goal" is the banning of the app, not its sale.

Stephen Warwick