TikTok is pursuing a “partnership” with Oracle to safeguard its US operations after ending take-over talks with Microsoft.
The Chinese video sharing platform has been looking for a buyer for its US arm since President Donald Trump threatened to close it down in the States unless it was separated from parent company ByteDance.
With the September 15 deadline issued by the President looming, Microsoft, which announced last month that it was in talks to purchase TikTok in the US, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, has confirmed discussions have closed without an agreement being struck.
This leaves Oracle in pole position to strike a deal thought reports on Chinese TV (via Reuters) have stated that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, will not be selling to Oracle or any other US buyer. The Chinese firm said it also intends to retain the the platform’s source code.
Partners, not Buyers
Under the new plans, Oracle would manage TikTok US data, as well as taking a stake in its State-side operations.
It is unclear whether the TikTok Oracle partnership will be sufficient to satisfy President Trump, who wants the social media platform in the US to be under domestic ownership, but Oracle CEO Larry Page is one of the President’s few high-profile backers in the tech world which could help swing the deal.
A partnership arrangement could also appease the Chinese government, which can block the sale of IP to foreign owners under new export control rules introduced last month.
No Go for MSFT
Microsoft had been heading up a consortium including Walmart which was keen to acquire TikTok, which has risen to prominence over the last 18 months as its short-form viral videos have become popular among teenagers.
A MSFT statement said: “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.”
Computer Business Review has approached TikTok and Oracle for comment.
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Matthew Gooding is a senior reporter on Tech Monitor.