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Stocks of TikTok U.S. suitors hit by fears of China block

·1-min read
Microsoft holds device-launching event in Barcelona ahead of the 2019 Mobile World Congress
Microsoft holds device-launching event in Barcelona ahead of the 2019 Mobile World Congress

(Reuters) - Shares of TikTok U.S. suitors Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc fell on Monday after China's move to restrict some technology exports spurred worries Beijing might block any deal for the video app's U.S. assets.

China's new rules around tech exports mean ByteDance's sale of TikTok U.S. operations could need approval from Beijing, a Chinese trade expert told state media on Sunday, a requirement that would complicate the forced and politically charged divestment.

Shares of Walmart, Microsoft and Oracle fell between 1% and 2.5% in morning trading.

All three pared some premarket losses after CNBC reported earlier in the day that TikTok has chosen a bidder and a deal could be announced as early as Tuesday. (https://cnb.cx/3gJkLeN)

TikTok leadership said in a memo to employees earlier last week that the company was "moving quickly to find resolutions to the issues that we face globally, particularly in the U.S. and India".

China, however, late on Friday revised a list of technologies banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years. Cui Fan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the changes would apply to TikTok.

"That probably throws a wrinkle in it, but I don't think that causes the deal not to get done," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said.

"It has been pretty clear that if this deal doesn't get done, then they're going to ban it in the United States and that's terrible for all parties."

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Shinjini Ganguli)