President Trump has signed off on a deal that will put TikTok’s U.S. operations under control of Oracle, Walmart, and other U.S. investors, apparently in exchange for a $5 billion fund that Oracle and Walmart would set up to fund the education of young Americans.
The Wall Street Journal reported that both Walmart and Oracle would share approximately a 20 percent stake in the new company, which would be headquartered in the United States. In total, U.S. investors would own 53 percent, Chinese investors would own a 36 percent stake, with European investors taking up about 11 percent, the paper said.
Trump had ordered TikTok, the popular short-form consumer video site, shut down within the United States allegedly because U.S. officials were concerned that the site was sharing data captured by the TikTok app with the U.S. government. Microsoft had expressed interest in buying the company, but later said that it would not be acquiring TikTok. Instead, Oracle said it would be a technology provider. Walmart’s participation had not been reported until then.
Trump had originally asked for a sort of finder’s fee for facilitating the deal—which, of course, came about because he ordered TikTok’s U.S. operations shut down. According to the Journal, he may have received it: Oracle and Walmart will spend $5 billion to fund education for young Americans. It’s not clear whether the fund will be used for “patriotic education,” a demand Trump had made on Thursday to counter “decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” according to The New York Times.
The U.S. Commerce Department also ordered that WeChat be banned from U.S. apps stores on Sunday night, along with the TikTok app, owned by China’s ByteDance. If the deal is approved, it’s not known when a replacement TikTok app would be published by its new U.S. owners.