The race to buy TikTok has a third, somewhat surprising competitor, with enterprise database software giant Oracle looking to team up with investors to purchase the social media app.
Earlier this month US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning anyone subject to American law from conducting transactions with TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance due to national security concerns.
After initially giving the company 45 days to find a buyer, Trump recently doubled this to 90 days.
Tech giant Microsoft and social media rival Twitter have already announced their interest in acquiring TikTok and have entered into negotiations.
Now database management systems company Oracle, best known for the Java software platform, is also reportedly eyeing off an acquisition of TikTok.
Similar to the Microsoft and Twitter proposals, the deal would see Oracle buy TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, rather than the entire company.
The Financial Times reported that Oracle is working with existing investors in ByteDance, including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, on an offer for TikTok.
The news has already been welcomed by Trump, who said that Oracle would be a “great company” to take over TikTok in the US. This is perhaps unsurprising given Oracle chairman Larry Ellison’s vocal support for the US president. Ellison also held a fundraising event for Trump earlier this year.
Microsoft is still widely considered to be the frontrunner to purchase TikTok. Twitter has reportedly touted its small size as an advantage in negotiations, as this would mean it would likely attract less scrutiny from antitrust authorities, but this may also hamper its ability to find enough cash for the deal.
Oracle probably won’t encounter this problem, with the company boasting a market cap of $US169 billion.
Microsoft has notified the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States of its negotiations with TikTok, which would see it run the social media app in the given countries and transfer all personal user data away from China
The company is now also reportedly looking to buy TikTok in Europe and India, along with the listed countries.
Trump’s executive order, which applies to ByteDance and WeChat, said that the companies capture “vast swathes of information” from users, which “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information”.
It also said that TikTok could “potentially allow China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage”.
“TikTok may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” the executive order said.
The order comes amid growing widespread concerns about the amount of data collected by TikTok and the potential for the Chinese government to access it.
Trump has also said that the US Treasury Department should receive a “lot of money” as part of any potential deal.