Trading in shares of Oracle were halted Monday morning pending news of the deal. The stock resumed trading after Oracle confirmed late Monday morning that it struck a deal with TikTok owner ByteDance to become its trusted technology provider.
A person familiar with the discussions told CNBC on Sunday that ByteDance picked Oracle to be the U.S. partner of the popular social video app. Oracle also will take a significant stake in the business, the person said. Earlier Sunday, Microsoft said ByteDance had chosen not to sell it TikTok’s U.S. assets.
The White House had imposed a Sept. 20 deadline for ByteDance to announce a plan for a sale of TikTok in the U.S. or be banned by Sept. 29, and a deal would have to be done by Nov. 12.
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests. To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”
Microsoft said on Aug. 2 that it was in talks to buy TikTok in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Weeks later Walmart said it believed working with Microsoft on a possible TikTok deal could be positive for TikTok users and for regulators.
Microsoft’s failure to buy TikTok amounts to a symbolic loss for Satya Nadella, who took over Microsoft from Steve Ballmer in 2014. Under Ballmer, Microsoft had sought to buy Yahoo in 2008 but ultimately withdrew the bid after Yahoo rejected the offer, even as Microsoft increased the amount it was willing to pay.
TikTok generates revenue through advertisements it shows to people scrolling through videos displayed in the app. Microsoft has its own advertising business, including the Bing search engine. Nadella worked on advertising, among other areas, before he became CEO.
Like Microsoft, Oracle offers cloud infrastructure, which TikTok could rely on to work in the United States. Oracle was not among the top five providers of cloud infrastructure by revenue in 2019, while Microsoft was No. 2, according to technology research company Gartner.
Oracle has important ties to Trump’s administration. Catz was a member of Trump’s transition team, and Ellison hosted a fundraising event for Trump’s election campaign at one of his California homes earlier this year. It also has tied with Democrats. Leon Panetta, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and secretary of the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, sits on Oracle’s board.
Walmart, which partnered with Microsoft for a TikTok investment, said it’s still trying to develop ties with the social media site.
“Walmart continues to have an interest in a TikTok investment and continues discussions with ByteDance leadership and other interested parties. We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns,” the retailer said in a statement.
— CNBC’s Annie Palmer, Jessica Bursztynsky, Julia Boorstin, and Alex Sherman contributed to this report.