UPDATE: The software company Oracle has won the bid for TikTok’s U.S. assets, according to the Wall Street Journal.
On Sunday night, Microsoft’s bid to buy the U.S. operations of the Chinese-owned video app was rejected, leaving Oracle as the frontrunner.
Oracle’s acquisition should resolve President Donald Trump’s executive order threatening to ban TikTok unless the assets were sold by Sept. 20. The order came amid an ongoing concern about privacy and security on the Chinese-backed app that has become massively popular with Americans, specifically teens.
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the services evolves in these important areas,” Microsoft said in a statement on its corporate blog.
After Microsoft announced ByteDance’s rejection of the TikTok takeover bid, retailing giant Walmart — which had joined with Microsoft on an offer for the video app — released a statement that said: “Walmart continues to have an interest in a TikTok investment and continues discussions with ByteDance leadership and other interested parties. We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns.”
Shortly after Trump issued his executive order to ban TikTok, the company filed a lawsuit against the administration, alleging that the ban is “not based on a bona fide national emergency and authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to pose ‘an unusual and extraordinary threat.'”
TikTok argued that Trump falsely claimed concerns about national security as a “pretext for furthering the President’s broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the U.S. election” and his actions against the company “were heavily politicized.”
In late August, Kevin Mayer, the former CEO of TikTok, resigned from the company after holding the position for just a few months. He cited the political pressure from Trump as one of the reasons for his exit.
“In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for. Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the US administration’s action to push for a sell-off of the U.S. business.”