Donald Trump gave his blessing to Oracle Corp’s bid for the American operations of TikTok, putting the popular video-sharing app on course to escape a US ban imposed as part of his pressure campaign against China.
“I approved the deal in concept,” Trump told reporters Saturday as he left the White House for a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. “If they get it done, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s OK too.”
The new company, which will be called TikTok Global, has agreed to funnel $5 billion in new tax dollars to the US and set up a new education fund, which Trump said would satisfy his demand that the government receive a payment from the deal. “They’re going to be setting up a very large fund,” he said. “That’s their contribution that I’ve been asking for.”
Oracle plans to take a 12.5 percent stake in the new TikTok Global, while Walmart Inc said it has tentatively agreed to buy 7.5 percent of the entity. Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon will serve on TikTok Global’s board of directors, the retailer said in a statement. Four of the five board seats will be filled by Americans, according to the statement.
During a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump told his rally audience that in conversation with leaders of the companies, he said “do me a favor, could you put up $5bn into a fund for education, so we can educate people as to real history of our country – the real history, not the fake history.”
The deal was forced by a pair of bans Trump issued in August over concerns that TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance posed a national security risk, thrusting the video-sharing app into the centre of the president’s confrontation with Beijing.
Shortly after Trump signalled his approval, the Commerce Department on Saturday delayed by a week a ban that would have forced Apple and Alphabet’s Google to pull the TikTok video app from their US app stores on Sunday.