US President Donald Trump has said he supports a deal in principle that would allow TikTok to continue to operate in the United States, even as it appeared to conflict with his earlier order for China’s ByteDance to divest the video app.
TikTok will be owned by a new company called TikTok Global that will be headquartered in the US, possibly in Texas, Trump said on Saturday – a deal structured as a partnership rather than a divestment.
On August 14, Trump had signed an executive order giving ByteDance 90 days to sell TikTok.
The US Commerce Department on Friday said it would block new downloads and updates to the app beginning Sunday.
US officials had expressed concern that personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app were being passed on to the Chinese government.
It was not immediately clear what spurred the White House to compromise on its push for an outright sale of TikTok.
However, the deal comes with pledges that cater to Trump’s “America First” policy agenda. It also averts alienating TikTok’s young users ahead of the November 3 US election.
ByteDance seeks $60bn valuation: Report
ByteDance, which is racing to avoid a US crackdown on TikTok, is seeking a $60bn valuation as Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc take stakes in the short-video app’s business to address US security concerns, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed person familiar with the matter.
Oracle will take a 12.5-percent stake in TikTok Global and store all its US user data in its cloud to comply with US national security requirements, the companies said on Saturday.
Retail giant Walmart said it would take a 7.5-percent stake.
The two companies would pay a combined $12bn for their stakes if they agree to a $60bn asking price, Bloomberg reported.
ByteDance, TikTok, Oracle and Walmart did not immediately respond to Reuters news agency’s requests for comment on the report.