Confusion Over ByteDance, TikTok Ownership Pattern Said To Be Latest Sticking Point In Oracle Deal

Trump Administration wants investors from the United States to hold a majority stake in ByteDance-owned short-form video app TikTok, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

What Happened: The Beijing-based company is partnering with Oracle Corporation (ORCL) to form a new U.S.-based firm that would run TikTok's global operations, where it will continue to hold a majority stake.

Nearly 40% of ByteDance is presently owned by U.S. venture capitalists such as Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. Zhang Yiming, the company’s founder, controls 25%, and another 20% of the ownership is held by employees. Non-U.S. investors hold another 20%, according to the Journal.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. officials reportedly want the U.S. stake in the company to increase beyond the levels being proposed.

The officials want an ownership structure in place where all of ByteDance’s assets are placed in a new company and Oracle and Walmart Inc (WMT) are brought in as investors. This would push the U.S. ownership beyond the 50% mark.

Why It Matters: Under the current proposal, a consortium of U.S. investors hold a majority stake, but difference in the way existing U.S. investments are counted us leading to varied perceptions regarding the nature of the ownership of the emergent company, the Journal noted.

A possible way out to increase U.S. ownership could reportedly be to take the new firm public.

On the topic of ByteDance maintaining a majority stake in the company which will be formed, President Donald Trump remarked, “Conceptually, I can tell you, I don’t like that,” the Journal reported.

The president reportedly said he would be fully briefed on the deal Thursday, and is not prepared to sign off on it until he gets further information.

Price Action: Oracle shares closed nearly 0.8% lower at $60.43 on Wednesday and gained almost 1% in the after-hours session.

© 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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