Microsoft is in advanced talks to buy the US operations of TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned video app that has been a source of security and censorship concerns, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The potential deal would be a victory for both companies, making Microsoft Corp a major player in the social media arena and providing relief to TikTok and its parent company ByteDance.
US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he would take action as soon as Saturday to ban TikTok in the country.
Trump's comments on Friday aboard Air Force One came after published reports that the administration is planning to order China's ByteDance to sell TikTok.
"As far as TikTok is concerned, we're banning them from the United States," Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he returned from Florida.
Trump said he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order to enforce the action, insisting, "I have that authority".
He added, "It's going to be signed tomorrow."
Microsoft declined to comment.
Reports by Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources said the administration could soon announce a decision ordering ByteDance to divest its ownership in TikTok.
TikTok issued a statement on Friday saying that, "While we do not comment on rumours or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok."
On Saturday it posted a short video from its US General Manager Vanessa Pappas saying that "We're not planning on going anywhere".
ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the US and Europe, and combined the two.
A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.
TikTok's fun, goofy videos and ease of use has made it immensely popular, and US tech giants like Facebook and Snapchat see it as a competitive threat.
It has said it has tens of millions of US users and hundreds of millions globally.
But its Chinese ownership has raised concerns about the censorship of videos, including those critical of the Chinese government, and the potential for sharing user data with Chinese officials.
TikTok maintains it doesn't censor videos based on topics sensitive to China and it would not give the Chinese government access to US user data even if asked.
The company has hired a US CEO, a former top Disney executive, in an attempt to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.
Australian Associated Press