In a statement to reporters on Monday, Oracle announced that its new TikTok venture will be entirely divested from ByteDance, a significant break from previous reports of the agreed deal between the two companies.
“Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global,” the company said in a statement to reporters.
The statement differs significantly from earlier reports, which showed Oracle and Walmart taking only a 20 percent stake in the new venture and ByteDance maintaining control of the other 80 percent. ByteDance has not publicly relinquished its claim to the company, and Oracle did not respond to a request for clarification.
On Monday morning, President Trump told reporters that China would be required to cede control of the app in order for the deal to go through.
TikTok’s ability to operate within the US remains profoundly in doubt. The Department of Commerce had prepared to levy sanctions against the company on Friday, only to delay the action after the president gave the deal an informal approval over the weekend. TikTok’s lawsuit against the department was voluntarily dismissed in the wake of that extension. The president was expected to formally withdraw the executive orders blocking the app later this week.
Government officials in China have been wary of any arranged deal and threw plans into chaos in August when they instituted new export controls on algorithms like the one that powers TikTok’s For You page. The current proposal, which will see Oracle and Walmart each taking a minority stake in a new US-based TikTok corporation, was presented as a compromise to avoid those export controls, although many are skeptical of whether it sufficiently addressed national security concerns. It remains unclear whether the Chinese government will approve of the new arrangement or if it will take additional steps to prevent it.