It looks as though TikTok owner ByteDance has found a buyer for the US side of their operations. That buyer is Oracle.
The corporate technology company Oracle will take over the U.S. operations for TikTok after a deal with Microsoft fell through. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed that the deal between Oracle and TikTok had been presented to the President on Monday morning. President Trump’s executive order stipulated that a deal must take place before September 20, or else the President would ban the use of TikTok in the United States.
The executive order states that “mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.” Trump has said that if the Chinese government received TikTok’s data it could potentially harm Federal employees and be used for blackmail and espionage purposes.
Reuters reported in August that TikTok was planning on challenging Trump’s executive order. In TikTok’s response to the filing, the company stated:
“For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
Many have seen Trump’s decision on TikTok as a possible personal vendetta against users of the app. Comedians like Sarah Cooper have made several viral videos mocking the president and his speeches, and the executive order came soon after teens utilized the app as a way to united efforts to RSVP for Trump’s Tulsa rally in June, which received far smaller crowds than expected.
The deal between TikTok and Oracle is almost certain to go through, as Trump has praised Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison many times in the past. “I think Oracle is a great company and I think its owner is a tremendous person,” Trump said of Ellison as reported by the Financial Times. “I think that Oracle would be certainly somebody that could handle it.” In February, Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Trump and in April, Ellison met with Trump at the White House.
Despite the sale awaiting approval, Walmart released a statement on Sunday, September 13, saying that they are still interested in continuing discussions with ByteDance, even after their bid with Microsoft was turned down. It is not clear what Walmart’s involvement might mean for the potential merger with Oracle.
Reuters has also reported that TikTok is valued at over $50 billion. President Trump has frequently said in past comments that the United States government would deserve a cut of any sale to the U.S. of TikTok, despite the fact that there is no legal precedent for such an agreement to occur. TikTok currently has more than 100 million users in the United States alone.