Trump Says TikTok Deal Won't be Approved if ByteDance Maintains Control

September 22, 2020 7:40 am

Beijing (PingWest)—US President Donald Trump said on Monday he would not approve a deal between Oracle and TikTok unless the US owners gain control over the popular Chinese-owned video-sharing app.

The latest remark contradicted his statement on the weekend that the transaction has received his "blessing."

Trump told Fox News that if the Chinese owner ByteDance retains control of TikTok, he would not support the deal. “They (Oracle and Walmart) are going to buy it,” he said, “They’re going to have total control over it. They’re going to own the controlling interest. And if we find that they don’t have total control, then we’re not going to approve the deal.”

ByteDance said on Monday that it will own 80% of TikTok Global, a newly created US company that will own most of the app’s operations worldwide. TikTok Global will become a subsidiary of Beijing-based ByteDance.

Oracle and Walmart have agreed to take stakes in TikTok Global of 12.5% and 7.5% respectively.

The viral short video app is currently entirely owned by ByteDance, which in turn is 40% owned by US investors, including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic.

Shortly after Trump’s comments on Monday, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s state-owned news outlet Global Times, tweeted that Beijing may reject the deal, “because the agreement would endanger China’s national security, interests and dignity”.

Later on Monday, when asked by reporters about the transaction, Trump once again deviated from his previous comments, stating that he "given a preliminary agreement to the transaction".

“That’s working its way through” and “we have to have total security,” he said, without elaborating how data will be secured under the deal.