Trump not happy with TikTok deal leaving ByteDance as majority owner

Trump not happy with TikTok deal leaving ByteDance as majority owner
Image Source

US President Donald Trump said he was “not going to be happy” if the deal for video sharing app TikTok would leave Chinese firm ByteDance as its majority owner.

President Trump made the comments as the government is currently examining a proposed deal between ByteDance and Oracle, which is aimed at addressing the Trump administration’s national security concerns about TikTok.

A Financial Times report suggested that the ByteDance and Oracle proposal would allow the Chinese parent company of TikTok to retain a majority stake in the embattled social media app.

ByteDance-Oracle deal

Several days ago, tech firm Oracle confirmed that Bytedance has formally proposed a partnership over the US operations of TikTok.

While full details of the partnership between Oracle and Bytedance have not been disclosed, it is aimed at avoiding President Donald Trump’s threat to close down the US services of TikTok.

ADVERTISEMENT

Last month, President Trump expressed that he welcomes the idea of Oracle buying out the US operations of Chinese-owned video sharing platform TikTok.

Trump said Oracle would be “a great company” to take over the operations of TikTok in the US, following reports that Oracle is a possible buyer of the Chinese social media app’s business in North America, Australia and New Zealand.

He made the comments during a speech in Yuma, Arizona after he learned of reports that Oracle was working on an offer for some TikTok assets with a group of ByteDance’s investors.

Oracle is collaborating with a group of US venture capital companies that have a stake in TikTok, the source says. According to a report from The Financial Times, General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital as reportedly two of the investors working with Oracle.

Oracle’s shares went up by 7% in mid-morning trade in New York following the announcement.

Carolina Milanesi from the Silicon Valley-based research firm Creative Strategies commented: “While I can see the upside for Oracle from a cloud perspective, it is hard not to think how much of this deal rests on politics rather than tech.”

Oracle chairman Larry Ellison is a known supporter of Trump who hosted a fundraising event for his campaign in February at his private golf course and estate in California.

Trump’s take on the proposal

According to Trump, he has not seen the details of the deal but he would “conceptually” be opposed to allowing ByteDance to retain a controlling share of TikTok.

The US president said: “Conceptually, I can tell you I don’t like that,” he said. “If that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with that.” He mentioned that he expects a briefing about the deal on Thursday.

Trump argued: “It has to be 100% as far as national security is concerned, and no, I’m not prepared to sign off on anything. I have to see the deal.”

He was also surprised that government may not legally demand a payment from the involved firms in exchange for the approval of the deal.

“Amazingly, I find that you’re not allowed to do that,” he said. “What kind of a thing is this? … I said, ‘No, I want a big chunk of that money to go to the United States government because we made it possible,’ and the lawyers come back to me and say there’s no way of doing that,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT