President Donald Trump said he would rescind his tentative blessing for a deal between Oracle and ByteDance to create a new U.S.-based TikTok service, called TikTok Global, if the Chinese company retains control of the operation.
But he indicated that he expected Chinese influence to be diluted by a future public offering of the new company.
“They will have nothing to do with it, and if they do, we just won’t make the deal,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News on Monday, referring to ByteDance. “It’s going to be controlled, totally controlled by Oracle, and I guess they’re going public and they’re buying out the rest of it, they’re buying out a lot, and if we find that they don’t have total control then we’re not going to approve the deal.”
Trump forced the transaction in August with executive orders declaring the popular video-sharing app a national security threat. He said Friday that he had approved of the deal with Oracle and WalMart “in concept.”
Earlier, ByteDance had emphasized it would remain in control of a hived-off TikTok Global business, appearing to contradict Trump’s statements that the new entity would be directed by Americans and ByteDance would pay an unusual $5 billion fee to the U.S. government.
The world’s most valuable startup sought to play down speculation it’s giving up control of valuable Chinese technology and assets after striking a deal with Oracle and Walmart to create TikTok Global. ByteDance will retain full control of its prized social media algorithms and allow Oracle only limited access to view source code for “safety” purposes, the company said in a statement posted to its domestic news service Toutiao Monday.