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US, China May Block TikTok Deal

Wrangling is continuing over the future of TikTok in the US, with President Trump now insisting that he won’t approve any deal that allows Chinese owner ByteDance to keep control of the app, and negative signals coming from Beijing.

In an interview on Fox News, Trump said that a deal between ByteDance and Oracle – to which he recently gave his “blessing” – won’t go ahead if ByteDance remains in control of TikTok.

“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,” he said.

Additionally, there are strong signals that the Chinese government will block the deal, with Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times – effectively a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party – tweeting his doubts about its prospects.

“Based on what I know, Beijing won’t approve current agreement between ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and Oracle, Walmart, because the agreement would endanger China’s national security, interests and dignity,” he tweeted.

In a blog post, ByteDance insisted it would not lose control of TikTok Global, and that no TikTok algorithms or technologies would transfer to Oracle – though Oracle would have the authority to check TikTok’s source code.

“TikTok Global plans to start a small round of Pre-IPO financing. After the financing, TikTok Global will become an 80% holding subsidiary of ByteDance.

“The board of directors of TikTok Global includes the founder of ByteDance and the current directors of ByteDance, as well as the CEO of Walmart. TikTok Global will also launch a listing plan to further enhance the corporate governance structure and transparency,” the company said.

However, according to Oracle’s chief Washington lobbyist, Ken Glueck, ByteDance won’t own TikTok should the deal go through.

“Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global,” he said.

ByteDance and Oracle have until September 27 to settle a deal after the Trump administration extended its initial deadline by one week; if unsuccessful, TikTok will have to shut down in the US.

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