Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance has shelved its proposed deal with American firms Oracle and Walmart now that former President Donald Trump is out of office, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday.
Trump’s departure from the White House took away the impetus for the deal given that he was the one who threatened to ban TikTok in the US unless ByteDance sold the app’s American operations, the Hong Kong-based newspaper says.
“The deal was mainly designed to entertain demands from the Trump administration,” an unnamed source who was briefed on the situation told the outlet. “But Trump is gone, and the raison d’être of the deal is gone with him.”
TikTok declined to comment on the report, and Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
The story added to speculation that TikTok’s sale to an Oracle-led group of American investors could be destined for the dustbin under the Biden administration, at least in its current form.
Federal courts have blocked a Trump administration order that would have effectively banned TikTok from operating in the US. In a Thursday court filing, TikTok and the Justice Department asked that the app’s lawsuit challenging the order be put on pause so the Biden administration could review whether the attempted ban was still warranted.
That request came after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Biden administration had put the deal on hold while officials reviewed whether to push it forward. But White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration had not taken any “new proactive step” on the TikTok front.
“I will note, broadly speaking, that we are comprehensively evaluating … the risks to US data” from TikTok and other potential threats, Psaki told reporters last week.