The TikTok U.S. spinoff saga continues to rambunctiously roll on. At the time of writing, U.S. President Donald Trump gave his “blessing” to a proposal that — on the face of it at least— doesn’t appear to satisfy the requirements in his August executive order.
TikTok’s Chinese parent company Bytedance said on Monday that the new “TikTok Global” company would be a “100% owned subsidiary of Bytedance.” The company is planning to raise a round of pre-IPO financing, after which TikTok Global would become a “80% holding subsidiary” of Bytedance. New investors Oracle and Walmart will take a 20% — 12.5% and 7.5% respectively — stake. According to multiple reports, this is being positioned as satisfying the U.S. requirements for majority ownership because ByteDance already has U.S. investors, reportedly bringing the total “American” ownership to around 53%. (Though Trump told Fox News Monday that his administration wouldn’t approve the deal unless it was under total U.S. control.)
As TikTok’s “trusted cloud and technology provider” Oracle will be allowed to inspect TikTok’s U.S. source code — but the current plan doesn’t include a China-U.S. transfer of TikTok’s valuable content recommendation algorithm and other technologies, according to ByteDance, which issued a statement to clarify ‘rumors’ Monday. Given that TikTok isn’t being entirely cut loose of Chinese ownership, it’s unclear how the term sheet switcheroo satisfies any potential U.S. national security concerns. Chinese authorities still need to approve the deal.
Clear as mud? As the formation of TikTok Global inches closer, here are some of the key outstanding advertiser concerns…
…“Walmart’s ability to bring ecommerce capability, retail data and closed loop measurement to the table will be welcomed by CPG brands,” said Joshua Lowcock, chief digital and global brand safety officer at ad agency UM.