Oracle beat Microsoft to secure a deal covering the US operations of ByteDance’s TikTok social media service, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, though it noted the US and Chinese companies arranged more of a partnership than an outright sale.
A WSJ source suggested the deal does not involve the exchange of significant assets and it was unclear if AI software is included, while South China Morning Post reported ByteDance decided not to sell or transfer TikTok algorithms.
China’s government last month imposed new export restrictions on AI technologies which require ByteDance to secure a licence before closing a transaction.
As part of the Oracle agreement, some of ByteDance’s existing investors including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic will receive stakes in the new partnership, WSJ stated.
Oracle’s move will require approval from the White House and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, though WSJ stated it appears to address the data security concerns which led President Donald Trump to call for TikTok’s operations in the country to be sold.
Microsoft emerged as an early contender to secure a deal covering TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which ByteDance reportedly priced at between $25 billion and $30 billion.
But WSJ stated ByteDance informed Microsoft it would not be proceeding with a sale.