Oracle Corp. (ORCL) - Get Report looks set to emerge as the preferred buyer of TikTok's U.S. assets, multiple media reports suggested Sunday, after the video-sharing app's China-based parent rejected a competing offer from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) - Get Report.
ByteDance informed Microsoft of its decision earlier Sunday, the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant said in a statement, paving the way for an Oracle-led consortium to pick up the U.S. assets, both Bloomberg and Reuters have reported. Walmart (WMT) - Get Report and Microsoft were considered front-runners for the TikTok franchise, after the world's largest retailer joined the tech giant's pursuit in late August, just days after software group Oracle indicated it was also interested in the valuable American operations.
However, both President Donald Trump, who ordered the sale of TikTok's U.S. business last month under the guise of national security concerns, and the Chinese government need to approve the sale by September 20. If that deadline passes, Trump told reporters over the weekend, TikTok will cease to operate in its second-largest market.
"ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests, Microsoft said in a statement Sunday. "To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement."
"We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important area," the company added.
President Trump issued a pair of Executive Orders in early August that barred "U.S. transactions" with China-based social media apps WeChat and TikTok, citing "significant risks" to personal data and digital security.
Trump has said the app , which has been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States alone and has 1 billion global users, will be banned in the U.S. if it's not sold by September 20.
TikTok's fate was also a factor in the surprise resignation of U.S. CEO Kevin Mayer, a former Disney DIS executive, who left the group earlier this week after only three months at the helm.