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Trump Says Deal Between Oracle and TikTok Has His ‘Blessing’

  • September 19, 2020

TikTok, Oracle and Walmart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Trump administration, which has taken a tougher line on China as the election approaches, has scrutinized TikTok for months over concerns about its Chinese ownership. The situation intensified in early August, when Mr. Trump said he would ban TikTok and issued an executive order essentially mandating that ByteDance strike a deal to sell the app’s U.S. operations by Sept. 20.

A second executive order set a later deadline for ByteDance to fully divest from the product.

The orders pushed ByteDance to jump-start discussions that had already been underway with potential bidders about TikTok’s ownership structure. Microsoft, Walmart and Oracle were among the companies that entered talks about acquiring TikTok’s U.S. business.

The situation was further complicated last month, after Beijing introduced new restrictions that appeared to essentially ban the sale of TikTok’s valuable video recommendation algorithm without a license, making an outright acquisition of TikTok by an American company harder to pull off.

This month, Microsoft said its offer to buy TikTok had been rejected. Instead, ByteDance selected Oracle as a technology partner for TikTok’s American business.

The arrangement has drawn skepticism from some prominent Washington critics of China’s influence over the technology industry. A group of Republican senators, led by Marco Rubio of Florida, said in a letter on Wednesday that a “trusted partnership deal” was “insufficient in achieving the goals of protecting Americans and U.S. interests.

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