The Oracle bid to take over Tik Tok American operations just moved a step forward with the approval of Tik Tok’s parent company ByteDance. But Oracle will still need to get a green light from both the Trump Administration and the Chinese government. Imagine those two agreeing on anything.
US regulators have now given tentative approval of the deal which grants American authorities a veto over any board member of the American Tik Tok while the parent company remains in Chinese hands. President Trump had ordered a Tik Tok ban be implemented over security concerns that the Chinese government could use it to spy on Americans. But if this deal gets approved the company will be able to move forward with an IPO in the United States within the year.
But as of now, American authorities will require Tik Tok be removed from app stores on Sunday, along with the app WeChat.
“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”
But the American Commerce Department has distinguished between the two companies.
Commerce Secretary Ross said, “Our rule is not doing the same thing to TikTok as to WeChat. The real shut down would come after Nov 12. it’s very different how the 2 are being handled & that reflects the quantitative and qualitative differences between the two apps.”
Democrats may block the deal because of Oracle owner Larry Ellison’s close relationship with President Trump. Ellison has been a big supporter of the President and so Democrats may cry foul if the Trump Administration approves the deal.
Republicans aren’t so happy either. Many may vote against any deal which still leaves the Chinese company ByteDance as ownwer of Tik Tok.
Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, is a vocal critic of the deal. He wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, “The available evidence compels only one conclusion: ByteDance has no intention whatsoever of relinquishing ultimate control of TikTok. That is precisely the problem that the President’s action sought to solve, and it is that same problem that the proposed Oracle partnership leaves fully intact. In short, the proposal violates the President’s executive order.”
The Senator released a copy of the letter on Twitter commenting, “Reports say @tiktok_us has reached a deal with an American company. I’m urging the Trump Administration NOT to approve it unless it involves a clean break w/@BytedanceTalk & total separation from #Beijing.”
Reports say @tiktok_us has reached a deal with an American company. I’m urging the Trump Administration NOT to approve it unless it involves a clean break w/ @BytedanceTalk & total separation from #Beijing pic.twitter.com/Ciz5UovsYK
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 14, 2020
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted, “The only thing that matters is whether we are protecting the personal & consumer data of Americans from being collected by &/or diverted to #China.”
Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, “As I expressed in my letter to Sec. Mnuchin, any deal between Oracle and ByteDance that fails to address national security concerns should be rejected. The Chinese Communist Party uses platforms like #TikTok for propaganda or espionage.”