Partnerships / Acquisitions

Two Big ByteDance Investors Reportedly Back Oracle's Bid For TikTok

Investment firms Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, which are major investors in TikTok's parent ByteDance, are pushing the firm to sell TikTok's U.S. arm to Oracle instead of rival suitor Microsoft, unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal.

The deal could help TikTok avoid a U.S. ban by the Trump administration. President Donald Trump signed an executive order recently giving ByteDance 90 days to divest its U.S. interest in TikTok, citing national security concerns.

Oracle is a recent candidate and possible alternative to Microsoft, the initial frontrunner in the race to buy for the popular video-sharing app's U.S. arm. Microsoft said this month that it had been talking to TikTok about buying the company's operations in the United States and three other countries.

However, the Journal cited unnamed sources as saying Sequoia and General Atlantic -- which both hold seats on ByteDance's board -- would like to participate in the purchase, and that they see Oracle rather than Microsoft as more open to adding them as investors. The WSJ said Sequoia's seat is held by the company's China head Neil Shen, with the U.S. acquisition efforts being handled by Global Managing Partner Doug Leone. Meanwhile, General Atlantic's seat is occupied by CEO Bill Ford, who is also managing his firm's acquisition efforts.

But the Journal said there are two points that could possibly count as conflicting interests. On one hand, the companies' roles as board members is to get the greatest possible value for ByteDance. On the other, the companies would just as soon buy TikTok's U.S. arm at a favorable price.

Bidders for TikTok's U.S. arm have been asked to submit their offers by the end of this week, sources told the Journal. But the paper said Microsoft's is the most advanced, and the U.S. tech giant wants to complete discussions by Sept. 15.

By contrast, Oracle would face more challenges due to its lesser experience in running a social-media app or other consumer-facing businesses. The paper added that while Microsoft and Oracle have been the most-talked-about contenders, Twitter has also expressed preliminary interest without making much progress on an actual bid.

(This article has been updated.)



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