As financial journalists across the US bang their heads against the wall trying to parse what President Trump meant when he said TikTok and Microsoft - or whoever ends up buying TikTok - would need to pay "key money" to the US Treasury, CNBC is reporting that Microsoft and ByteDance are starting to talk valuation for the deal.
To be sure, President Trump hasn't said anything more about his extemporaneous rant about TikTok paying the US Treasury for the privilege of continuing to operate in the US (a remarkably socialist-sounding suggestion from a Republican president). But Microsoft has implied that simply paying taxes on the deal could satisfy this requirement, and we suspect all the speculation on CNBC and elsewhere is merely kayfabe.
But in bigger news, Instagram on Wednesday launched its new "Reels" features, something that critics and observers like Kara Swisher claimed was essentially a rip-off of TikTok.
Earlier this week, the People's Daily accused the US government of trying to "steal" TikTok from ByteDance. Now, it looks like ByteDance is about to get "Zucked".