TikTok has been fighting for its survival abroad, looking for a partner to sell its operation entirely to try and prevent a pending ban from the US government over security concerns. Initial discussions appeared to indicate that Microsoft (in partnership with Walmart) was keen on acquiring TikTok’s US operations (which would likely exclude the apps renowned algorithms) but it appears ByteDance has rejected the bid with The Wall Street Journal reporting that the company has chosen to go with Oracle instead.
Initial discussions were reportedly around a full acquisition of ByteDance, but the company has instead decided to focus on just looking for a US partner to run the TikTok operations in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It’s not clear exactly what the details of this partnership are and exactly how data will be kept separate in these regions as opposed to the rest of the global TikTok users. The value of the bid has also not been revealed at the time of writing.
This comes within days of the deadline that the US government gave to ByteDance to sell its TikTok operations to the US or face being banned within that country. Given that the nature of this deal is not an acquisition, but rather service management, it’s not clear if it actually meets the US government’s demands. As for timing, even if the US administration is happy with it, these sort of partnerships take a fair amount of time to enact and it could still be while before Oracle takes full control over the TikTok operation in these countries.
It’s likely this will secure TikTok’s immediate future in the US, although once all the details are finalised and if/how they will deal with interactions between the rest of TikTok’s global operations, it will be interesting to see if it remains equally as popular or fades into obscurity if it has to lose features along the way.
Last Updated: September 15, 2020