Twitter’s attempt puts it in direct competition with software giant Microsoft, which is already in talks to purchase TikTok itself. The news follows US president Donald Trump’s announcement that a deal to buy TikTok from its Chinese owner ByteDance must be completed by September 15.
Otherwise, TikTok will face a complete US ban on national security grounds.
The Trump administration has viewed the app with suspicion, accusing it of working in hand with the Chinese government – something TikTok and Beijing have denied.
Twitter’s bid for TikTok has been met with some doubt by analysts due to its small size relative to Microsoft.
The firm, owned by Jack Dorsey, has a market capitalisation of just under $ 30 billion according to Yahoo Finance.
TikTok news: Twitter joins the battle for TikTok
This is dwarfed by Microsoft’s market cap, which is valued at around $ 1.6 trillion at the time of writing.
It is said this extra buying power will work in Microsoft’s favour in its talks with ByteDance.
The cost of buying TikTok’s US operations is rumoured to come in at around $ 30 billion.
As a result, observers note Twitter would probably have to resort to securing big investments from tech industry private equity firms.
Twitter, however, has said it has advantages in some ways due to competition rules.
The company say its smaller size would mean US regulators would put up less resistance to a potential deal.
In any case, Twitter has not yet confirmed it is actively pursuing a deal with TikTok.
Sources close to the matter have only claimed the company has held preliminary discussions about potentially doing so, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Microsoft, on the other hand, publicly announced its intention to purchase TikTok’s US operations over a week ago.
The software firm, which is owned by US multi-billionaire Bill Gates, said in a statement: “Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020.
“During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.
“Microsoft appreciates the U.S. Government’s and President Trump’s personal involvement as it continues to develop strong security protections for the country.
“These discussions are preliminary and there can be no assurance that a transaction which involves Microsoft will proceed.”
“We do not intend to provide further updates until there is a definitive outcome to our discussions.”
If successful, Microsoft’s bid will see it owning the rights to TikTok in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.