TikTok’s sale to Oracle-led consortium reportedly deferred

The US government had approved Oracle’s bid for the American operations of TikTok in September

FILE PHOTO: The TikTok app's logo seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration/File Photo
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Sale of TikTok's US operations to a consortium including tech giant Oracle and e-commerce company Walmart is deferred indefinitely amid a review by the US President Joe Biden, according to a media report.

"President Biden undertakes a broad review of his predecessor's efforts to address potential security risks from Chinese tech companies," the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

In September, former president Donald Trump's administration approved Oracle’s bid to buy the US operations of TikTok, leading to a tentative deal where Oracle and Walmart would get a combined 20 per cent stake in a global TikTok business, averting a blanket ban on the social media app.

However, the deal was delayed as TikTok's parent company ByteDance approached the federal appeals court in Washington in November, requesting it to stop the US government from forcing a sale.

Both Oracle and TikTok did not immediately respond to The National's request for comments.

TikTok has been at the heart of the Trump administration's efforts to curb what it sees as a growing dominance of Chinese tech apps, which it claims collect US citizens' data. TikTok has repeatedly denied such allegations, saying it does not collect or sell American citizens' data.

Discussions have continued between representatives of China-based ByteDance and the US national security officials, WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

“Those discussions have centred on data security and ways to prevent the information TikTok collects on American users from being accessed by the Chinese government,” it added.

Launched in China in September 2016, TikTok was rolled out in the US in 2018 after ByteDance’s $1 billion purchase of lip-synching app Musical.ly. TikTok allows users to create and share 15-second videos while providing musical soundtracks.

The short-form video application started to actively look for a buyer for its US operations in August last year after Mr Trump issued an executive order banning businesses and US residents from using the app.

This order was reportedly aimed at forcing the Chinese firm to sell its American operations to a US group.