Oracle has expressed an interest in acquiring TikTok, according to the Financial Times, giving Microsoft a potential competitor in its bid to control the Chinese social video app in the US. Larry Ellison’s enterprise software giant has reportedly held preliminary talks with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance already, working with venture capital firms including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, and is “seriously considering” acquiring its business in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
President Trump issued an executive order on Friday ordering ByteDance to sell its US business within 90 days. The FT notes that Oracle’s billionaire co-founder Ellison is one of the few US tech executives who has been openly supportive of Trump, though it’s not clear whether Oracle would be the White House’s preferred suitor for TikTok.
A deal to buy part of TikTok would be legally fraught and technically complex. Until now, Microsoft has been considered the frontrunner in the efforts to find an American buyer. The FT corroborates earlier reporting from The Wall Street Journal that said Twitter had also expressed an early interest, but there are said to have been “serious concerns” about its financial capacity for the deal. While ByteDance hasn’t named a price publicly, TikTok’s success propelled it to become the world’s most valuable startup in 2018.