President Trump said he doesn’t want ByteDance to be TikTok’s majority owner under the Chinese tech giant’s proposed partnership with Oracle.
Reports this week have indicated ByteDance wants a majority stake in a new US-based company set up to run TikTok’s global business — a proposal Trump said he “conceptually” didn’t like.
“If that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with that — assuming that ByteDance is China, which I think it probably is,” the president said at a Wednesday news conference.
Trump administration officials are reviewing Beijing-based ByteDance’s proposal to make American software giant Oracle its technology partner in the US, a deal struck to prevent Trump from banning the popular short-video app.
The proposal announced Monday would let Oracle review TikTok’s source code to make sure China’s government could not access its data — as American officials fear — but the California-based company would only get a minority stake in TikTok Global, a new US-based firm that would be a unit of ByteDance, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Trump said he expected to be briefed on the deal Thursday, adding that he had not been told ByteDance would retain majority ownership of TikTok. The app could be banned as soon as Sunday under an order Trump issued last month if the Oracle partnership is not approved.
“I’m not prepared to sign off on anything,” Trump said Wednesday. “I have to see the deal. We need security, especially after what we’ve seen with respect to China and what’s going on.”
ByteDance said Thursday that China’s government would have to approve its proposed partnership with Oracle, adding another hurdle for the deal to clear. Beijing officials also threw a wrench into ByteDance’s negotiations last month with new export restrictions that would likely affect TikTok’s signature algorithm that feeds users videos based on their preferences.
ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s remarks. Oracle shares were down about 0.9 percent in premarket trading Thursday at $59.90 as of 7:06 a.m.
With Post Wires