Oracle in talks to buy TikTok's US business, FT reports

Oracle Corp has held preliminary talks with TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, and was seriously considering buying the app's operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday.
Oracle, the world's second-largest software maker, is focused on supplying to business customers and has virtually no investments in consumer apps or social media.
Oracle, the world's second-largest software maker, is focused on supplying to business customers and has virtually no investments in consumer apps or social media.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Oracle Corp has held preliminary talks with ByteDance on a potential bid for part of TikTok's business, seeking to rival Microsoft in the race to acquire the viral video streaming app, the Financial Times has reported.

The company controlled by billionaire Larry Ellison is working with TikTok's US investors including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital to consider a bid for the app's operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the FT said, citing people briefed on the matter.

The entry of Oracle could challenge Microsoft's bargaining position, as the Redmond-based company had been the only party to publicly confirm it was in talks with ByteDance.

US President Donald Trump on Friday (Aug 14) ordered ByteDance to sell its US assets within 90 days, adding to an earlier executive order that would prohibit US persons and companies from doing business with TikTok effective 45 days from Aug 6.

Oracle didn't immediately respond and ByteDance declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.

Oracle co-founder Ellison is one of the few Silicon Valley moguls to openly support Mr Trump. The billionaire, whose company was once among the industry's most aggressively acquisitive, has hosted a fundraiser at his estate for the US President.

Oracle - the world's second-largest software maker - is focused on supplying to business customers and has virtually no investments in consumer apps or social media.

Valued at roughly US$166 billion (S$227 billion), Oracle held about US$43 billion in cash or near equivalents as of the end of May, making it one of few companies that could potentially afford the lofty pricetag for TikTok.

Analysts and bankers have estimated the value of TikTok's US business at between US$20 billion and US$50 billion, a wide range that reflects the complexity involved in separating TikTok's American and global businesses.