Trump: TikTok Deal Won’t Be Approved If Chinese Parent Company Retains Control

“They will have nothing to do with it,” the president said about Bytedance, “and if they do, we just won’t make the deal”

President Trump on Monday said he isn’t in favor of a TikTok deal that leaves Bytedance, its Beijing-based parent company, with any control of its American offshoot — casting doubt on the “blessing” he gave the proposed Oracle-TikTok deal this past weekend.

“They will have nothing to do with it,” the president said about Bytedance, while addressing the bid on Fox News. “And if they do, we just won’t make the deal.”

The president added: “It’s going to be controlled, totally controlled by Oracle, and I guess they’re going pubic 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.”

The proposed Oracle bid would lead to an American branch of the company dubbed TikTok Global. Oracle and Walmart, its partner in the deal, would get about 20% of TikTok Global in the deal, while up to 80% is held by Bytedance.

TikTok Global, which TheWrap reported last week would be looking to file an initial public offering sometime in 2021, would have five board seats, with Walmart CEO Doug McMillon serving as director.

Bytedance would retain ownership and control of its code in its deal with Oracle; the software giant, along with controlling American user data, would be allowed to review the source code and updates to make sure there aren’t any leaks to Bytedance — and possibly to China’s communist government, which, by law, Bytedance would be compelled to share information with, upon request.

On Saturday, President Trump said he approved of the Oracle-TikTok deal “in concept.”

“I have given the deal my blessing,” the president said. “If they get it done that’s OK too, if they don’t that’s fine too.”

Now it appears the deal could be on the ropes, if Bytedance were to retain majority control of any U.S. subsidiary.