Oracle enters race to purchase TikTok’s U.S. business

TikTok's office in Culver City Los Angeles. — Yahoo  Files

Oracle - yes, Oracle - is now a potential acquirer of TikTok. Friday's order also said Bytedance, in order to complete its sale, must show it has "destroyed all data" tied to American users.

Microsoft has been the lead contender to purchase those TikTok businesses since it said publicly earlier this month that it had held talks with ByteDance.

The sale of TikTok to a USA company has been prompted by an executive order published earlier this month by USA president Donald Trump.

Asked on Tuesday what he thought of Oracle, Trump said: "Well, I think Oracle is a great company, and I think its owner is a tremendous guy".

The company, controlled by billionaire Larry Ellison, has made a preliminary approach to other parties including the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, to partner with it in a bid for the app's operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the people said, asking not to be identified.

Over the summer, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the USA government was looking to ban certain social media apps offered by Chinese companies, including TikTok. He is a high-profile Trump supporter, and held a fundraiser for the president in February, leading to a walkout by Oracle employees.

Oracle is targeting a bid for TikTok's assets in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Trump administration claims TikTok is a national security threat because of its ties to China, something the company has consistently denied.

On its new website, TikTok said it wanted to "set the record straight", arguing that Washington and the media have been proliferating "rumors and misinformation" about the app.

Chinese tech firm ByteDance, whose last valuation of $78bn (£61bn) makes it the world's most valuable start-up, is behind the app that is dominating the lives of millennials and generation Z. It only launched in September 2016 but, outside China, it has already amassed 300 million active users and 1.4 billion total installs to date.

On Saturday (15 August), it was reported that Trump has signed up for one of TikTok's rivals in the US, Triller.

Trump's team has published four Triller videos.

Mr Trump said there was "credible evidence" that TikTok was being used by ByteDance to breach USA security.

"It's not lost on me that this is TikTok's year", Tran said.