ByteDance shelves plans to sell TikTok US business to Oracle, Walmart

TikTok’s owner ByteDance has reportedly scrapped a deal to sell its US business to a combination of Oracle and Walmart, deciding there is no longer a need to offload its US operations with Donald Trump no longer US President.

ByteDance, as reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), had allegedly been led to choosing Oracle as its ‘trusted technology partner’ because one of Oracle’s founders, Larry Ellison, was a Trump supporter and that relationship could have been valuable if Trump had managed to hold on to the presidency.

Now, ByteDance will instead look to work with the Biden administration to seek a new structure for its US operations without the influence of a US company.

There had been a lot of confusion around what the deal between ByteDance, Oracle, and Walmart would have meant.

It was initially stated that the new ‘TikTok Global’ US business would be owned 20 per cent by Oracle and Walmart and 80 per cent by ByteDance. However, Oracle announced that ByteDance would have no ownership at all in the business and that shares would only be distributed between itself and Walmart.

Either way, under the deal, ByteDance would not have transferred any of its algorithms to TikTok Global, as per Chinese law. Oracle would have only been able to conduct a security review of TikTok’s source code.

In India, where TikTok is already banned, ByteDance is said to be in talks to sell its operations to InMobi’s Glance, which serves news, movies, travel, sports, food, and games content on the lock screens of people’s smartphones, and recently secured a $145m investment from Google and Mithril Capital. Glance also owns rival video-sharing platform Roposo.