US President Donald Trump has said tech giant Oracle would be “a great company” to take over TikTok’s US operations.
The president’s backing comes after Oracle was reported as a possible buyer of the Chinese social media app’s business in North America, Australia and New Zealand.
The bid would see it face off Microsoft’s bid for part of TikTok whose US operations have been valued at more than $20bn.
Microsoft has been working on a partial takeover of TikTok, which lets users post short video clips, after President Trump ordered the firm to sell its US operations within 90 days or face being shut down, citing concerns over national security.
But Oracle has reportedly met with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, and is working with some of the app’s investors – including venture capital firms General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital – on a rival deal for its operations in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Microsoft has emerged as the most likely candidate to complete a takeover, but Oracle’s attempt to hijack the transaction, first reported by the Financial Times, could boost its advertising and data businesses if successful.
Both Oracle and Microsoft’s bids are not for TikTok’s worldwide businesses, but for subsections of the company’s operations in English-speaking countries.
Although the reasons for the limited sale have not been disclosed, the four nations represent all the members of the “five eyes” surveillance alliance other than the UK, where TikTok is attempting to place its international headquarters.
Oracle comes to the negotiating table with several advantages. Time is on its side due to Trump’s 90-day deadline for the sale, meaning the options for long drawn-out discussions are limited.