Oracle and TikTok deal close, but ByteDance wants majority ownership

Oracle sign on a red background

Oracle is close to finalizing a deal with ByteDance to purchase TikTok’s US operations, but sources claim the Beijing-based company is trying to retain majority ownership of the popular app.

Trump ordered ByteDance to divest its US operations amid concerns that the Chinese government could access TikTok’s user data. The president has threatened to ban TikTok in the US if ByteDance fails to comply.

According to sources, ByteDance would like to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s global business and establish US headquarters. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said ByteDance has offered to create 20,000 US jobs with TikTok too.

Sources told Reuters that Oracle would then take over the management of TikTok’s data, becoming ByteDance’s US tech partner and taking a minority stake in the popular short video app.

ByteDance's plan also includes restrictions surrounding its overall control of TikTok. According to sources, those restrictions could include the US government approving TikTok’s board of directors and its relationships with major vendors.

Reuters reported that ByteDance hopes Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s fundraising and support for President Trump and Oracle CEO Safra Catz’s support of Trump’s transition team in 2016, will increase the chances of the deal being approved.

Mnuchin, who heads up the CFIUS, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly met at the White House on Tuesday to consider ByteDance’s proposal. It remains unclear whether the Trump administration will accept the proposal though, sources say.

President Trump previously said he expects the US to get a substantial cut of any sale, but ByteDance doesn’t anticipate paying such a fee if Trump approves the deal.

In August, President Trump signed an executive order calling on ByteDance to divest its TikTok US operations. In response, TikTok said it would pursue all remedies available to ensure the Trump administration and US courts treat the app and its users fairly.