The Latest in the TikTok Saga

TikTok was not banned in the US on Sunday night. But it still can be banned next Sunday.

The deadline was postponed by one week, until September 27, at 11:59 pm, after President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the deal between TikTok’s parent company ByteDance with Oracle and Walmart had his blessing  “in concept.”

After his announcement, some details surfaced. Oracle would have a 12.5% stake in the Chinese social media app and would become its secure cloud technology provider. Walmart would have a 7.5% stake. The price paid was not released yet.

If this deal goes through, it means the two companies together would have a 20% minority stake in TikTok’s global business.

According to some media outlets, TikTok would be controlled by Americans only by including the Venture Capital firms like Sequoia, General Atlantic, and Tiger Management that are already ByteDance investors. 

But in this case, it’s not clear who really would be in charge of the company. Some outlets say Americans would have the majority of board seats.

Still, this picture is not exactly what Trump has been demanding: alleging potential national security threats, the president said more than once he wants TikTok’s US operations to be controlled by Americans. Otherwise, the app would be banned from the country.

This Monday, Trump repeated to reporters that only a deal with American control would be approved.

“They [Oracle and Walmart] are going to buy it. They’re going to have total control over it. They’re going to own the controlling interest. And if we find that they don’t have total control, then we’re not going to approve the deal.”

They will have nothing to do with it, and if they do, we just won’t make the deal,” Trump said referring to ByteDance.

On the other hand, ByteDance clearly sees the deal in a different way. For instance, it doesn’t see American investors as separate stakeholders, saying it will keep 80% ownership of TikTok Global.

Also, according to “Bloomberg,”  shortly after Trump’s comments, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the China state-affiliated Global Times, posted on Twitter that Beijing would likely reject the deal “because the agreement would endanger China’s national security, interests and dignity.”

Clearly the deal is not concluded yet, and the TikTok saga goes on.