President Donald Trump is expected to decide shortly whether the sale of TikTok, the China-based short video-sharing app, to Oracle Corp. is a go, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The president told reporters at the White House Tuesday (Sept. 15) that his administration would make a decision “pretty soon” and said he has “high respect” for Oracle Chairman Lawrence Ellison.
“I heard they’re very close to a deal,” Trump said.
Sources told the WSJ Trump had a telephone conversation with Oracle CEO Safra Catz about the Redwood City, California-based computer technology corporation’s plans to convert TikTok into a U.S. company.
Catz was seen at the White House event Tuesday when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to sign a historic agreement between Israel and the two Arab countries, the news outlet noted.
The TikTok-Oracle deal was examined Tuesday afternoon by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), the inter-governmental agency that reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in U.S. companies. But a decision has not been made, the newspaper reported.
On Monday (Sept. 14.), Oracle confirmed it has been selected by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to be the “trusted technology provider.”
The status of the deal is unclear. But Aimen Mir, a former Treasury official, told the WSJ it’s possible that high level national security officials will give the deal a complete evaluation.
While the Chinese government has the final word on whether to approve the ByteDance transaction, experts told the Financial Times that officials are unlikely to block it because it does not involve selling any source code or Chinese data to the U.S.
“There is no sale of any asset or any technology,” a source directly involved in the negotiations told the FT. “As an enterprise software company Oracle will just be providing data security with a small minority stake.”
Trump issued an executive order on Aug. 6 prohibiting American companies from conducting business with ByteDance over fears the Chinese company would share private information about American users to the government. The president ordered the sale of its California’s headquarters to a U.S. company by Sept. 20.
On Monday, TikTok said its proposal submitted to the Treasury Department would resolve the administration’s security concerns.