TikTok is on its way to getting a reprieve.
President Donald Trump on Saturday said he has given his “blessing” to a deal struck by TikTok, Walmart and Oracle that would avert a ban of the Chinese social media app.
Trump, speaking to reporters as he left for a rally in North Carolina, said he had approved the deal “in concept.”
But he left open the door for a situation in which the deal would fall through.
“If they get it done that’s great, if they don’t, that’s OK, too,” he said.
TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance, struck a deal with Oracle this week that would move the company’s headquarters to the U.S. and give Oracle oversight of its U.S. operations. ByteDance would retain majority ownership of the company, which would be called TikTok Global.
Walmart will also be involved in the deal, TikTok said in a statement. The company said it was pleased that the deal received Trump’s approval and said that it plans to hire 25,000 people in the U.S.
Monica Crowley, U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson, confirmed the president’s approval.
“The President has reviewed a deal among Oracle, Walmart, and TikTok Global to address the national security threat posed by TikTok’s operations,” she said in an emailed statement. “Oracle will be responsible for key technology and security responsibilities to protect all U.S. user data. Approval of the transaction is subject to a closing with Oracle and Walmart and necessary documentation and conditions to be approved by CFIUS.”
Oracle also confirmed the deal and said it will take a 12.5 percent stake in TikTok Global.
“As a part of this agreement, TikTok will run on the Oracle Cloud and Oracle will become a minority investor in TikTok Global,” Oracle CEO Safra Catz said in a news release.
But that deal still needed the approval of Trump and of Chinese authorities. It now has Trump, but China could still scuttle the plan.
Trump’s statements come a day after the Department of Commerce said it would start blocking downloads of TikTok at midnight on Sunday. Commerce is also putting a more complete ban on WeChat, the Chinese messaging app.
After Trump’s comments on Saturday, Commerce said it was extending the deadline for the ban on TikTok downloads to Sept. 27.
TikTok has been the subject of U.S. government scrutiny for almost a year over concerns that the user data of Americans could be transferred to the Chinese government. Trump issued an executive order in early August that sought to prevent U.S. companies from doing business with TikTok and WeChat.
Pressure from Trump pushed TikTok to begin exploring deals with U.S. companies in a bid to avoid the executive order. The app has about 100 million users in the U.S.
Ezra Kaplan contributed.