Partnerships / Acquisitions

ByteDance At Odds With Oracle Over TikTok Purchase

ByteDance was at odds with TikTok buyer Oracle over the exact terms of the deal to purchase the popular video-sharing app over the weekend, Reuters reported.

China-based ByteDance, long the parent of the popular app, said it would own 80 percent of a newly-created U.S. company TikTok Global, which will own most of the app's operations around the world. ByteDance also said TikTok Global would become its subsidiary.

However, that was contradicted by Oracle, which, along with Walmart, agreed to take stakes of 12.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, in TikTok Global. They said the majority ownership would end up being American.

The conflict centers around the President Donald Trump administration's opposition to TikTok's potential for foreign surveillance from China. The administration vowed to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S. unless that operation was sold to a U.S. company.

Oracle said on Monday that ByteDance's ownership of TikTok would be distributed to ByteDance's investors, saying the Beijing-based company wouldn't have any investment in the app.

Meanwhile, fellow Chinese app WeChat, which was also targeted for a ban by the Trump administration, is facing its own troubles.

Tencent, which owns the app that is nearly ubiquitous in China despite only having a small following in the U.S., said the current court appeals over the app meant it might not be able to get new U.S. users during the process, Reuters reported.

Tencent also said routine app updates might not be accessible for U.S. users if Apple and Google remove WeChat from their stores.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the challenge to the proposed ban posed "serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim" and so far, the hardships seemed more in Tencent's favor, Reuters reported.

Beeler temporarily blocked the WeChat ban, and a nonprofit founded by users, the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, called the proposed ban "unconstitutional," saying they planned to fight it if that kept on moving forward.

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