Oracle is in talks to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations, challenging Microsoft, source says

Larry Ellison, co-founder and executive chairman of Oracle Corp., speaks during the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on Oct. 22, 2018.


Oracle, an enterprise software giant, is in talks to acquire social media company TikTok’s U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Oracle is working with a group of U.S. venture capital firms that already have a stake in TikTok, said the person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. The Financial Times earlier reported on the talks and named General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital as two of the investors working with Oracle. 

Spokespeople for TikTok and Oracle declined to comment. 

Oracle’s talks to acquire TikTok’s operations in four countries are ongoing and have accelerated in recent days, the person said, and it and Microsoft are far ahead of any other companies that have expressed interest. While Microsoft has been working with the U.S. government to acquire TikTok’s assets for more than a month, Oracle’s co-founder and executive chairman Larry Ellison has expressed his support for President Donald Trump, whose administration has vowed to ban TikTok in the United States if Chinese owner ByteDance does not divest its U.S. operations by November. Ellison threw a campaign fundraising event for Trump earlier this year.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in an executive order last week. 

Oracle doesn’t have a consumer-facing social media or video business. In theory, Oracle could use customer data collected by TikTok to improve its marketing products, but spending tens of billions to acquire a consumer social media company would be a significant departure for the company. Oracle has struggled to find new avenues of growth as Amazon Web Services has dominated cloud computing, followed by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. In Oracle’s fiscal fourth quarter, revenue declined 6% to $10.4 billion. Oracle has a history of being acquisitive but has slowed down on large deals in recent years.

–CNBC’s Jordan Novet contributed to this report.

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