ByteDance Ltd., TikTok’s parent, turned down Microsoft’s previous bid to buy TikTok’s U.S. assets. A deal with Oracle is narrower, appearing more like a corporate restructuring than an outright sale, one of the people said.
Early offers from both parties valued the U.S. business at about $25 billion, but that was before Chinese officials weighed in with new rules imposing limits on technology exports, according to people, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
Microsoft, which was working with Walmart Inc., had been seen as the more likely winner, but its talks had cooled in recent days, one person said. Microsoft wasn’t asked to make revisions to its initial offer in the face of recent signs of opposition to a deal from Chinese government officials, the person added.
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft,” Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said in a statement on Sunday. “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests.”
The terms being discussed with Oracle are still evolving, one of the people said. For example, Oracle could take a stake of a newly formed U.S. business while serving as Tiktok’s U.S. technology partner and housing TikTok’s data in Oracle’s cloud servers.
Talk of a corporate restructuring harkens back to Bytedance’s original intentions earlier in the summer to sell a partial stake in TikTok’s operations or restructure the company with a global headquarters and board of directors outside of China.
One person familiar with the deliberations in the White House said it’s unclear whether a deal with Oracle will pass muster with the Trump administration, where various factions have been pushing for a complete shutdown or an outright sale of TikTok to an American company.
Representatives for TikTok and