Backers of a new group vying to buy the U.S. operations for TikTok want to craft an agreement giving U.S. interests a majority stake in an attempt to appease the Trump administration's fears of foreign surveillance, The Wall State Journal (WSJ) says.
Oracle and Walmart are planning to own a large stake of the video sharing app together, sources told WSJ. If they combine with the existing American interests, U.S. interests would have a majority of the shares in the company, with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon expected to take a board seat if that ends up happening.
Under that plan, TikTok would file for an IPO in the U.S. in around a year.
The Trump administration, voicing concerns that TikTok could be a way for Chinese officials to spy on the U.S., has been pushing for the U.S. to take a majority ownership of the country. Microsoft has also been favored in recent months to complete a deal.
Trump said on Thursday (Sept. 17) that the White House had been speaking with Oracle and Walmart earlier in the day. He said he guessed Microsoft was still involved, but offered no other details except to say that the company would “make a decision.”
PYMNTS reported that Microsoft’s offer to buy TikTok’s U.S. operations was turned down, the company confirmed on Sunday (Sept. 13).
A deal between TikTok and Oracle could face a difficult road, PYMNTS wrote, if it goes the way of TikTok parent ByteDance. ByteDance’s plan would make Oracle a “trusted technology partner.” The proposal would make it so that ByteDance retained the majority global ownership while establishing a new U.S. office. That proposal is being reviewed by the Treasury Department, but the Trump administration isn’t likely to go for that, preferring an outright sale.
China said it would also have to approve any prospective deal involving TikTok.