TikTok sale to Oracle, Walmart reportedly on maintain as Biden administration opinions

A man with a phone in his hand walks past a sign on the TikTok app made by the Chinese company ByteDance, locally known as Douyin, at the Hangzhou International Artificial Products Exhibition in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China on Jan. October 2019.


Oracle and Walmart’s plan to buy TikTok’s U.S. operations has been pushed back indefinitely as President Joe Biden reviews former President Donald Trump’s efforts to address potential security threats posed by Chinese tech companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday Appeal to people familiar with the matter.

Oracle’s stock was slightly positive in premarket trading on Wednesday and Walmart’s was slightly negative.

Trump urged TikTok to find an American buyer by threatening to ban the popular video app amid concerns that Chinese parent company ByteDance could leak US users’ data to the Chinese government. TikTok has denied that it does or that it would hand over US data if requested by Chinese officials. Servers for the app are not based in China, and as of now, many of the concerns still seem hypothetical.

TikTok finally signed a partnership agreement with Oracle and Walmart, in which the US companies should buy a stake in the app and provide secure technology. Under the deal, ByteDance would still own 80% of the business, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC last year. Still, Trump said in September that he approved the deal in principle.

But the deal stalled when TikTok competed with the Trump administration in court over the attempted ban. Federal judges have repeatedly rolled back the ban, with a December ruling saying that Trump’s Commerce Department “likely exceeded” its legal authority to issue it.

Sources told the Journal that TikTok had continued talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), but the final deal would likely be different from the initial one. Chinese regulators would also have to approve the deal.

Walmart declined to comment. Representatives from TikTok, Oracle, and Commerce and Treasury did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comments.

Read the full journal story here.

-Reuters and Melissa Repko from CNBC contributed to this report.

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