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Yahoo BusinessSep 21, 2020
The Math Doesn't Add Up on TikTok's Deal With Oracle and Walmart
(Bloomberg) -- The TikTok sale saga reached an apparent conclusion over the weekend when President Donald Trump approved a deal. The agreement would allow Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. to buy a minority stake in a new joint entity, called TikTok Global. "I have given the deal my blessing," Trump said.But the harmony was short-lived. Just one day after Trump promised "no Chinese involvement," TikTok owner Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. said it would retain 80% control over the new company.By contrast, Oracle said that ByteDance would eventually relinquish its shares. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Oracle Executive Vice President Ken Glueck said that once TikTok Global is created, "Americans will be the majority [shareholders] and ByteDance will have no ownership." It's rare for the parties involved in a major deal to disagree so radically on its contours, analysts say.A key reason for the discrepancy lies in differing views over the eventual distribution of TikTok's shares. One statistic that's been touted by both Oracle and Walmart is that American investors will control more than 50% of the new TikTok Global. At first, that sounds like it's at odds with ByteDance's insistence that the company will get a 80% stake.But U.S. citizens own a substantial chunk of ByteDance itself: American investors, including General Atlantic and Coatue control 40% of the Chinese internet giant, people familiar with the matter have said. That means they will in theory own 40% of ByteDance's TikTok stake, too. Combined
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