Twitter, Microsoft and Oracle are competing to buy the social network TikTok
Oracle has entered the race to acquire TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned short video app that President Donald Trump has promised to shut down unless taken over by a US company in mid-November, people briefed on the matter said.
The technology company co-founded by Larry Ellison had held preliminary talks with TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance and was seriously considering buying the app’s operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the people said.
Oracle was working with a group of US investors who already own a stake in ByteDance, including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, the people added.
Microsoft wants to acquire TikTok
Microsoft has been the main competitor to buying TikTok since it said publicly in early August that it had held discussions to explore buying the app’s businesses in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Microsoft has also seriously considered an offer to take over TikTok’s global operations beyond the countries it outlined this month, people briefed on the company’s thinking said. The Redmond, Washington-based company is particularly interested in buying TikTok in Europe and India, where the video app has been banned by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ByteDance is opposed to selling assets beyond those in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said a person close to the company.
Oracle’s entry into the race provided ByteDance with a credible alternative to Microsoft’s offering, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Twitter had also had early-stage talks with TikTok, but there were serious concerns about the U.S. social media group’s ability to fund the deal, people briefed on the matter said.
Oracle’s approach comes after Trump last week ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok’s US operations within 90 days, following a recommendation from the US Foreign Investment Committee, a panel. of the government that examines foreign transactions.
Donald Trump’s order said the United States had “credible evidence” that ByteDance was using TikTok, which reached 2 billion downloads worldwide in 2020, to violate United States security. ByteDance has repeatedly denied any allegations of improper data sharing. The United States has been involved in a trade war with China since Trump took office.
Ellison, one of the richest people in the world, is one of the few people in Silicon Valley who has openly supported Trump. In February, the 76-year-old billionaire businessman held a fundraiser for the president of the United States at his estate in Coachella Valley, California.
It is unclear whether the White House supports Oracle’s approach more than Microsoft’s.
Any deal would face a long list of challenges, including the separation of TikTok’s back-end technology from ByteDance. It’s also unclear how much TikTok’s US or global operations would get in a sale.
Oracle could not be immediately reached for comment. ByteDance, General Atlantic and Sequoia declined to comment.