President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has given TikTok’s deal his “blessing,” saying he “conceptually” approved the agreement, which would see TikTok partner with Oracle, Walmart and other investors to become a U.S. company, spun off from owners ByteDance.
The administration previously indicated that ByteDance will spin off TikTok’s U.S. operations as a new company, called TikTok Global. TikTok said last week that, under their proposal to the Treasury Department, Oracle would serve as a “trusted technology partner,” though it would not be entirely sold to the U.S. tech firm.
Trump suggested that TikTok and the government hadn’t finalized the arrangement yet, but any transaction requires approval not only from the administration but also Chinese regulators, which recently imposed stricter export rules for technology companies. ByteDance was originally based in Beijing, but now is headquartered in the Cayman Islands.
“It will have nothing to do with China, it’ll be totally secure, that’s part of the deal,” Trump said to reporters at the White House. He also said that TikTok will hire 25,000 people, most likely will be headquartered in Texas, and will donate $5 billion to education in America.
Spokespeople for TikTok, Oracle, Walmart and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the terms of the deal and White House spokesperson Judd Deere referred Adweek to President Trump’s remarks.
The president has previously made public assurances about private companies without their knowledge or agreement, such as when he told reporters that Google was building a website to help Americans find coronavirus testing sites (though a site did eventually go live).
After a summer of pressure from the administration over undefined data security concerns and unproven allegations that TikTok shares U.S. user data with the Chinese government, the drama might finally subside.
And there’s an important deadline approaching: after Sunday, the government will not permit mobile app marketplaces like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store to carry TikTok, thwarting new downloads of the massively popular app and any software updates at the start of this week. However, business transactions, including advertising, are not illegal under the rules.
At the same time, on Friday, the administration extended ByteDance’s deadline to sell the app to Nov. 12, granting more than six extra weeks from the original deadline of this Sunday.