Trump says he’s not yet ready to sign off on a TikTok deal as his administration reportedly pushes for majority US ownership

  • Trump administration officials are pushing for potential US buyers of TikTok to own a majority share of the company,The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
  • Officials are angling for US buyers to own at least 50% after ByteDance sought to retain control of TikTok in a proposed sale to Oracle, according to The Journal.
  • Trump said during a press conference Wednesday that he was “not prepared to sign off” on the proposed deal as he hadn’t yet been briefed, but that he wouldn’t support it if ByteDance retains a majority share.
  • The disagreement indicated a gulf remains between the Trump administration and ByteDance as a September 20 deadline looms.
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Trump administration officials are pushing for potential US buyers to own a majority share of TikTok as part of a sale the president has pushed for, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Journal reported Tuesday that ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese-based parent company, had sought to keep its controlling share of the social media app in a deal it pitched to US officials this week.

But that proposal didn’t satisfy the administration, according to Wednesday’s report, which said that US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and other officials are angling for American investors to own well north of 50% of the new company, throwing new roadblocks into the discussions.

Trump also indicated Wednesday that he wouldn’t support the deal as it has currently been reported.

“Just conceptually, I can tell you I don’t like that… if that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with it,” Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday, though he said he hadn’t yet been briefed on the proposal.

“They’re giving me studies on the deal, it has to be 100% as far as national security is concerned, and no I’m not prepared to sign off on anything, I have to see the deal,” Trump said, adding he’s scheduled to receive a briefing on Thursday.

TikTok and the US Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

US investors currently own roughly 40% of ByteDance, while its founder Zhang Yiming owns nearly 25%, ByteDance employees own around 20%, and other non-US investors own the remaining 20% or so, according to The Journal.

Trump administration officials are pushing for American investors, with the addition of Oracle and Walmart, to own at least a majority of the new company and potentially significantly more than 50%, which they said could be accomplished by taking it public, The Journal reported.

Multiple reports have surfaced over the past few weeks as several hopeful buyers have raced to reach a deal with TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance ahead of a September 20 deadline. Microsoft had reportedly been leading the pack, but TikTok rejected its bid earlier this week and Oracle is now the apparent frontrunner to become TikTok’s US “technology partner.”

Oracle submitted a proposed bid to the US government early this week, but it’s reportedly still facing roadblocks as government officials weigh whether it does enough to address the national security concerns laid out by Trump in his executive order.