ByteDance gets Trump nod to avoid TikTok shutdown in the US

Platform News: President Donald J Trump

President Trump has said he encouraged a deal in principle which would enable TikTok to continue to run at the United States, even as it appeared to conflict with his previous arrangement for China’s ByteDance to divest the video app.

ByteDance was rushing to avoid a crackdown on TikTok following the US Commerce Department said on Friday it might block new downloads and upgrades to the app come Sunday. US officials had expressed concern that the personal information of as many as 100 million Americans who use the app has been passed on to China’s Communist Party government.

Trump signed an executive order on the 14th of August, giving ByteDance 90 days to market TikTok. The deal announced on Saturday, however, is organised as a partnership rather than a divestment.

TikTok will be owned by a new company named TikTok Global and headquartered in the United States, maybe in Texas, Trump said. Oracle Corp will take a 12.5% stake in TikTok Global and save all its U.S. user information on its own cloud to comply with US national security conditions, the firms said. Retail giant Walmart Inc said it’d take a 7.5% stake in TikTok Global. The implied valuation for TikTok Global as a consequence of these investments weren’t able to be discovered.

While Oracle and Walmart explained that TikTok Global will be majority-owned by .S investors, this is true only if ByteDance’s investor base is taken into account, according to a source familiar with the matter who asked anonymity to go over the deal’s structure. This is because ByteDance will have 80 percent of TikTok Global, the source stated.

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Given that U.S. investors now own about 40% of ByteDance, the White House will count that towards how much TikTok Global is owned by US parties, the source added. As a result, Oracle, Walmart, and ByteDance’s US investors will have, directly or indirectly, about 53 percent of TikTok Global, a second source said.

Beijing-based ByteDance didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Walmart and Oracle did not provide more information on TikTok Global’s ownership structure.

It wasn’t immediately clear what spurred the White House to compromise on its own push for an outright sale of TikTok. However, the deal comes with pledges that cater to Trump’s “America First” policy agenda. It also avoids alienating TikTok’s young users before the Nov. 3 U.S. election.

ByteDance agreed to make 25,000 new US projects at TikTokup from a bit over 1,000 now. Trump, who had previously called on companies such as Oracle and Walmart to cover the United States that a “fee” to take part in the TikTok deal, said that there could also be a $5 billion .S education fund as part of the deal.

“I said, you know, do me a favour, could you put up $5 billion into a fund for education so we can educate people as to the real history of our country, not the fake history,” Trump told a rally of supporters in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Saturday.

ByteDance stated in a social media post on Sunday it wasn’t aware it was setting up a $5 billion education fund in the United States.

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Oracle and Walmart described the arrangement otherwise. They said that together with ByteDance top investors General Atlantic, Sequoia and Coatue they would create an educational initiative to deliver an artificial-intelligence driven online video curriculum for children, from fundamental reading and math to science, history and computer engineering.

The companies didn’t say how much they would spend on the education initiative. However, they said TikTok Global would cover more than $5 billion in new taxes to the US Treasury.

While ByteDance will have to keep TikTok’s source code under the deal, Oracle will get to inspect it.

Catz functioned on Trump’s transition team in 2016, while Oracle’s co-founder and chairman, Larry Ellison, is among the few top technology executives to openly support the US president.

ByteDance also had to give up a number of its hands of TikTok. Journalists at our partner news agency Reuters reported on Thursday of last week that TikTok Global could have a majority of American directors, a US chief executive and a security specialist on the plank. Walmart said on Saturday its own CEO, Doug McMillon, would function as one of the five board members of TikTok Global.

It is possible that ByteDance’s possession of TikTok will be decreased further next year. Reuters was to report Thursday the ByteDance is planning an initial public offering of TikTok Global. The filing of the IPO would be about a US stock exchange and could arrive in about a year.

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CFIUS APPROVAL

The Commerce Department said on Saturday it would delay by one week an arrangement that was set to take effect late Sunday that would have compelled Google and Apple Inc to quit offering TikTok for downloading, therefore the TikTok deal can be completed.

Oracle beat Microsoft, which said last week that its offer to acquire TikTok’s US company was rebuffed by ByteDance.

The Trump government has stepped up its attempts to purge what it deems “untrusted” Chinese apps from US electronic networks. An American judge ancient Sunday blocked the Trump administration from needing Apple and Google to remove Tencent Holdings Ltd’s messaging app WeChat for downloads by late Sunday.

TikTok interim Chief Executive Officer Vanessa Pappa said in a video posted on Saturday which “TikTok is here to stay.”

China also has to approve the offer. “We’ll see whether or not it all happens,” Trump said.

The first Chinese response to the deal came in Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Alexandra Alper, David Shepardson and Echo Wang. Editing by Daniel Wallis, Jacqueline Wong, Lisa Shumaker and Steve Orlofsky.

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