Trump to ‘cut off’ social media app TikTok if deal cannot be saved

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would save a deal to boost American control of Chinese-owned popular social media app TikTok if possible, but would “cut it off” if not.

Speaking to reporters before departing the White House, Trump said he had given a “preliminary ok” to a plan for U.S. companies Oracle and Walmart to take stakes in a new U.S. company to run TikTok, which is currently owned by China’s Bytedance.

But the President also stressed that he could scrap the deal if it didn’t satisfy his demands.

“If we can save it, we’ll save it, and if we can’t we’ll cut it off,” he said before traveling to Ohio. “We have to have total security. That’s the only thing, very important, We have to have total security,” he added.

Trump had previously made clear he wanted a U.S. company to buy TikTok, but questions have swirled about whether Bytedance will retain a majority stake in the new enterprise.

ByteDance said on Monday that it will own 80% of TikTok Global, a newly created U.S. company that will own most of the app’s operations worldwide. ByteDance added that TikTok Global will become its subsidiary.

Oracle and Walmart Inc, which have agreed to take stakes in TikTok Global of 12.5% and 7.5% respectively, had said on Saturday that majority ownership of TikTok would be in American hands.

TikTok is currently entirely owned by ByteDance, which in turn is 40% owned by U.S. investors.

The Commerce Department postponed a ban on downloads of the TikTok app that was due to take effect on Sunday by one week, to give the companies time to finalize the deal.

Earlier on Monday, Trump told Fox News that Oracle and Walmart would have “total control” over TikTok. “If we find that they don’t have total control, then we’re not going to approve the deal,” Trump said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.