Trump says Oracle near deal on TikTok

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he had heard Oracle Corp  was very close to a deal over ByteDance's TikTok, even as sources said the Chinese company was seeking to keep majority ownership of the popular short video app, Reuters reports.

Trump has ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok amid U.S. concerns user data could be passed to China’s Communist Party government. He has threatened to ban TikTok in the United States as early as Sunday if ByteDance does not comply.

Under ByteDance’s proposal, however, the Beijing-based company would keep a majority stake in TikTok’s global business and create headquarters for TikTok in the United States, the sources said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that ByteDance has also offered to create 20,000 U.S. jobs with TikTok.

Oracle would become ByteDance’s technology partner responsible for the management of TikTok’s data and take a minority stake in TikTok, the sources added.

“I heard they are very close to a deal,” Trump said, adding his administration would be making a decision soon on whether to approve it, and that he was a fan of Oracle’s Chairman Larry Ellison.

The ByteDance proposal calls for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the U.S. government panel that is overseeing the deal talks, to supervise how TikTok will be operated, one of the sources said.

Mnuchin, who chairs CFIUS, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were meeting at the White House on Tuesday to consider ByteDance’s proposal, two of the sources said.

It is unclear whether Trump will approve ByteDance’s proposal, the sources said, requesting anonymity because the deliberations are confidential. The White House, ByteDance and Oracle did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Signing off on a deal for TikTok that would allow ByteDance to retain majority ownership would represent a U-turn for Trump and the U.S. government agencies and departments that comprise CFIUS.