TikTok Forced-Sale Bill Gets Updated in Congress as Lawmakers Extend Divestment Window to One Year

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Photo Credit: Charles Deluvio

Federal lawmakers have agreed to update the TikTok forced-sale bill, affording ByteDance a longer post-passage window to divest from the video-sharing app. The development suggests the bill could win critical Senate approval.

This movement on the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act came to light in an update from Senator Maria Cantwell, who chairs the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. While March saw the mentioned legislation quickly pass through the House in a bipartisan vote, it’s had a comparatively slow journey in the Senate.

To that end, reports closer to April’s beginning suggested that Senator Cantwell intended to push for changes – among them an extension of the six-month period ByteDance would have to sell or shut down TikTok in the States.

Running with the idea, the senator in a recent statement indicated that she was “very happy” with House Speaker Mike Johnson’s decision to adjust this selloff stretch to one year.

“I’m very happy that Speaker Johnson and House leaders incorporated my recommendation to extend the ByteDance divestment period from six months to a year,” the senator’s statement reads.

“As I’ve said, extending the divestment period is necessary to ensure there is enough time for a new buyer to get a deal done. I support this updated legislation,” the remarks conclude.

Of course, assuming the bill becomes law, it’s unclear whether ByteDance, part of which belongs to the Chinese government, will opt to cash out of TikTok in the U.S. at all.

To be sure, the platform and its execs have painted the measure as an outright ban, including in the multimillion-dollar TikTok ad campaign that’s underway in battleground states. And the possibility of a full-scale stateside shutdown probably isn’t sitting right with the massive companies, sports teams and leagues, and others that TikTok counts as partners.

Nevertheless, prospective buyers – or more precisely groups of buyers, given the huge price tag TikTok’s U.S. operations would fetch – are still lining up to pursue a takeover.

Moving beyond the legislative-process implications of these and related points – besides the situation’s far-reaching industry impact – the divestiture-period adjustment is significant when it comes to the bill’s path through the Senate. According to The Hill, the retooled Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act provision is specifically part of a multifaceted package including fresh sanctions on Iran and much more.

Notwithstanding its uncertain U.S. future, on top of its intensifying Universal Music licensing battle and the quick-approaching end of its NMPA agreement, TikTok is still making industry moves. Earlier this week, the app announced a global ticketing tie-up with AEG’s AXS.