‘TikTok acquisition by Oracle and Walmart has been postponed indefinitely’

The acquisition of TikTok’s American branch has been shelved. That’s what The Wall Street Journal claims. The deal has been “suspended indefinitely” as President Biden reviews former President Trump’s policies on certain Chinese companies.

Talks between representatives of ByteDance and US security officials are continuing in the meantime, The Wall Street Journal sources report. These discussions would mainly focus on data security and preventing the Chinese government’s access to the data of American TikTok users.

A takeover by Oracle and Walmart is not ruled out by the Biden administration, but any deal would likely be different from the agreements discussed in September. Oracle, Walmart and other companies could still play a role in any deal, but much depends on how the Biden administration continues current US initiatives against TikTok.

Any sale must also be approved by Chinese regulators. Beijing last year imposed new restrictions on the export of certain social media algorithms, which are also used by TikTok, writes The Wall Street Journal. That would complicate the discussions further. No resolution is expected in the near term as the Biden administration is still formulating a response to the “potential security risks” of data collection by Chinese companies.

The paper does state that the White House may respond to the lawsuit against Trump’s presidential ordinance next week. The government must issue a formal response to this on February 18. A Trump decree will also come into effect next week banning transactions with eight Chinese apps. It is still unknown whether Biden will enforce this ordinance.

The potential deal between TikTok parent company ByteDance and the American company was announced in September. Oracle would become a ‘technology partner’ of TikTok, whereby the American tech company would, among other things, manage the data of American TikTok users.

These plans followed presidential orders from then-President Donald Trump, who last year labeled the platform a “threat to national security.” Trump then demanded that parent company ByteDance divest its US TikTok branch. The platform would be banned in the US if the company failed to comply with this demand, although this potential ban was eventually overturned by a federal judge. A US judge has also banned the US government from banning trade with TikTok.