Silicon Valley tech giant Oracle is “very close” to sealing a deal to become the US partner to Chinese-owned video app TikTok to avert a ban in the United States, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
Trump’s comments came a day after US officials confirmed that Oracle was set to make a deal with TikTok parent ByteDance ahead of a deadline set by the US president, who has called the app a national security threat.
“I heard they’re very close to a deal,” Trump told reporters, adding that “we’re going to make a decision pretty soon” on whether to approve the tie-up, which would make Oracle a “trusted technology provider” for TikTok.
Details of the deal remained unclear. But the Financial Times reported that ByteDance was to place TikTok’s global business in a new US-headquartered company with Oracle investing as a minority shareholder along with other US investors.
CNBC reported the Trump administration could approve the deal later Tuesday.
The TikTok saga has seen several twists, with Microsoft seen initially as the suitor before its bid was rejected.
Chinese authorities have said they would not allow ByteDance to sell the algorithms used by TikTok which are believed to hold much of the value for the popular social platform.
Still under review
TikTok said in a statement that “we’ve submitted a proposal to the Treasury Department which we believe would resolve the Administration’s security concerns” and allow the company to continue to be used by 100 million people in the US.
Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities said the deal could be “a huge strategic win” for TikTok which would avoid a shutdown.
“While the US/China tensions continue across all aspects of the technology food chain, resolving this TikTok and ByteDance standoff and complex Rubik’s Cube political backdrop is a relief for tech investors with Oracle in the winners circle,” Ives said in a research note.
If the transaction happens, it would avoid an outright sale of TikTok while giving a stake in the popular app to Oracle, whose founder Larry Ellison is a prominent Trump supporter.
Trump told reporters Tuesday he had “high respect for Larry Ellison.”
A national security panel was expected to be meeting Tuesday to review the plan.
Conservative Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri urged the panel to reject the deal unless it makes a “clean break” from China.
“China’s repressive intelligence laws, which allow the seizure of data from Chinese companies like ByteDance if the Chinese Communist Party comes knocking, still remain in force,” Hawley said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“And that is why any corporate shell game that leaves TikTok in the hands of ByteDance will simply perpetuate the original problem, leaving US national interests and everyday users at serious risk.”
Other analysts said the deal appears dubious because it would give a popular social platform to a Trump ally.
“A deal where Oracle takes over hosting without source code and significant operational changes would not address any of the legitimate concerns about TikTok, and the White House accepting such a deal would demonstrate that this exercise was pure grift,” said a tweet from Alex Stamos, a Stanford professor and former security executive at Facebook and Yahoo.
Trump met with boos and chants of ‘vote him out’ outside the Supreme Court
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump went to the Supreme Court Thursday morning to pay their respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but they were met with a very unfriendly audience.
Trump was seen with his eyes closed swaying from side to side, as a slow stream of boos threaded through the audience growing louder and louder. The crowd then began to chant "vote him out" more and more fiercely.
Trump then hung his head and walked inside the building rather than listen to the jeers.
A whopping 62 percent of Americans don't want Trump to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, according to a Reuters poll posted earlier this week.
Sarah Sanders says Trump isn’t planning to leave: ‘I don’t think he expects to need any transfer of power’
Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Thursday that President Donald Trump is not planning for a peaceful transfer of power because he expects to win.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses in November.
"We're going to have to see what happens. You know that I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster,” he remarked. “Get rid of the ballots and you'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer frankly. There'll be a continuation.”
Republicans call out Trump’s comments on refusing to leave peacefully — but never mention him by name
Several Republican lawmakers on Thursday seemingly called out President Donald Trump for refusing to say if he'd allow for a peaceful transfer of power -- but none of them actually mentioned the president by name.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) was the first out of the gate on Wednesday night, when he tweeted that "any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable."
He was followed on Thursday morning by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who more opaquely said that "as we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election" and "at noon on Jan 20,2021 we will peacefully swear in the President."