Netflix was reportedly approached by TikTok in plan for the streaming giant to acquire its US operations

  • A number of US firms have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring viral-video app TikTok as its future in the US is threatened by the Trump administration, which has proposed a ban on the app. 
  • Microsoft has been the frontrunner in talks to buy TikTok's US operations from Chinese parent company ByteDance to avoid the potential ban.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that TikTok approached Netflix to see if the streaming giant was interested in purchasing the app's US operations. Netflix "passed" on a deal, according to the Journal.
  • Oracle and Twitter have also reportedly entered acquisition talks with TikTok, whose US operations are valued between $10 billion and $50 billion.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Netflix is the latest company to be linked to TikTok as the company weighs selling its US operations in the face of Trump's threat to issue a nationwide ban.

TikTok approached Netflix to "gauge its interest in a deal" to acquire its US operations, the Wall Street Journal reports. However, the streaming giant reportedly passed on the invitation to get involved in a multi-billion deal with TikTok's parent company, ByteDance.

Netflix is just one of several tech firms that have been linked to TikTok acquisition talks in recent months, ever since the Trump administration first made known its intentions to force China-based ByteDance to sever its ties with TikTok in the US — or face a nationwide ban. The lofty pricetag for TikTok's US operations — estimated to be worth between $10 billion and $50 billion — means few American tech companies have the funds to afford the buy the viral app.

Rumors and speculation regarding the TikTok acquisition have floated several names as interested buyers, including Twitter, Alphabet, and Apple. Most recently, enterprise tech giant Oracle emerged as a potential buyer, and quickly attracted verbal support from Donald Trump. 

As for Netflix, CNBC's Alex Sherman argues TikTok would bring an advertising-revenue-based platform into its folds, allowing the streaming service to continue offering ad-free entertainment. Although Netflix CEO Reed Hastings famously said the company's biggest competition in 2017 was sleep, he called out TikTok this year as a competitor in "internet entertainment."

Still, the only company to publicly note interest in pursuing the acquisition, is Microsoft. The company confirmed in early August it had entered discussions with ByteDance to acquire TikTok's operations in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. It was recently revealed Microsoft and ByteDance signed a "nonbinding letter of intent" at the end of July, a significant step in the acquisition process indicating that talks between the two companies were advanced.

Yet it's unclear where the negotiations currently stand, as TikTok challenges the Trump administration's attempts to ban the app in the US. Since late July, Trump has issued two separate executive orders aimed at TikTok, and has set a mid-November deadline for ByteDance to sell of the app's US operations.

TikTok filed a lawsuit Monday against the US government challenging the Trump administration's actions. The lawsuit focuses on Trump's August 6 executive order, which bars "any transactions" between ByteDance and American citizens. TikTok is arguing the US government breached its right to "due process" by failing to notify the company ahead of the executive order, as well as accusing the administration of lacking evidence to support its claims the Chinese government accesses the data of TikTok's American users.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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