Amid reports Monday morning that Oracle has won the battle with Microsoft to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations, China’s state-run English TV channel is claiming that no sale with any U.S. buyer will go ahead (via Reuters).
ByteDance will not sell TikTok’s U.S. operations to Oracle Corp ORCL.N or Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and will not give the source code for the video platform to any U.S. buyers, China’s state-run English television channel CGTN reported on Monday, citing sources.
People familiar with the matter told Reuters that ByteDance abandoned the sale of TikTok in the United States and decided to pursue a partnership with Oracle in hopes of avoiding a U.S. ban while appeasing the Chinese government.
ByteDance declined to comment on CGTN’s report.
A source also told the South China Morning Post that the tech upstart has decided not to sell or transfer the source code behind its popular video app.
The development follows a report from The Wall Street Journal on Sunday evening that claimed database software and cloud systems giant Oracle had closed the deal moments after Microsoft announced it had been rejected. The deal reportedly stopped short of an outright acquisition of all assets and intellectual property, with TikTok considering Oracle as a “trusted tech partner” instead.
In a blog post following the news, Microsoft wrote:
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”
Microsoft was originally regarded as the frontrunner in acquisition talks with TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance, and provided a formal proposal that would have involved the purchase of TikTok’s operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Bloomberg on Monday cited sources claiming that terms being discussed between ByteDance and Oracle were “still evolving,” but that one of the options being explored could see Oracle take a stake in a newly formed U.S. business while serving as TikTok’s U.S. technology partner and housing the video app’s data in Oracle’s cloud servers.
Offers from both parties reportedly valued the U.S. business at about $25 billion, but that was said to be before Chinese officials weighed in with new rules imposing limits on technology exports.
Any deal would still need to be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government group chaired by the Treasury Secretary that studies corporate mergers for national security reasons.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in mid-August demanding that ByteDance sell its U.S. operations within 90 days. Trump required ByteDance to announce its plan for the sale of TikTok in the U.S. by September 20 and complete a deal by November 12. The U.S. government will ban the Chinese video app by September 29 on national security grounds if it fails to submit its plan. TikTok unsuccessfully sued against the ban order in late August.
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