back to article Here's some words we never expected to write: Oracle said to offer $10bn cash, $10bn shares for TikTok US – plus profit share promise

With TikTok under increasing pressure to offload its American operations, or be banned from the States by President Trump, the suitors are lining up. Oracle is apparently the front-runner to acquire the US side of TikTok by offering $20bn in cash and stocks, according to showbiz news sheet The Wrap. We're told the database …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    So now the US government in addition to meddling in the affairs of every other country and telling them who they can and cannot do business with, has become a Mr Ten Percent deal fixer?

    Seems to me to have descended to the level of the souks they seem to despise so much.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Indeed. It's the sort of gangster capitalism you saw in the Third Reich.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Or

        Post 1989 Russia. Hum, perhaps talk of Russian interference was a mangled misinterpretation of the administrations adoption of perestroika politics. Let the reconstruction commence...

        1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

          Re: Or

          At that time you didn't pay the government for any deal you made buying state-owned companies.

          Government officials, on the other hand...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it. 20bn for what is some naff video sharing app that makes money from advertising and slurping peoples data. Can it be that having information on your citizens is really worth that much? To what end?

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      Yet more advertising, I'd assume.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Although it seems there's a never ending supply surely there must be a limit to advertising budgets. The more platforms there are the thinner it gets sliced. They should be grateful to those of us running ad blockers. It means there's more to spend somewhere else.

        1. logicalextreme Silver badge

          You'd think, wouldn't you? It seems to be a concept that prints its own money. I'm hoping that advertising itself is a bubble that will one day burst, though I suspect that debt culture is the root cause of its continued success.

    2. logicalextreme Silver badge

      The reason that you don't get it is the same reason that none of us get it. The world has left us all behind and become a nonsense factory.

      Something something new normal

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        The world has left us all behind and become a nonsense factory

        Unfortunately a goodly chunk of our fellow citizens willing work in the nonsense factory and avidly consume its production. If all of us had been left behind it would be less of a problem.

        1. logicalextreme Silver badge

          I just meant Reg readers. The other fellow citizens are "they". Though now you've gotten me thinking about the world population being left behind by TikTok as it barrels through the galaxy away from us, presumably to warn any other species in the universe to steer clear of that funny little pale blue dot over there.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        I get the concept of TikTok, even though I’m not the target market. I just don’t get the valuation of $20bn.

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Your right, the valuations on much of this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

          Were you around for the first dot com bubble?

          1. katrinab Silver badge
            Coat

            I was indeed. I guess It's Different This Time, or something?

        2. logicalextreme Silver badge

          I approach these things with the maxim of monetary worth simply being what somebody's willing to pay for something. I think about that a lot, accept that money is meaningless and I guess that's why my last purchase was Father Ted stamps for the postal service of a country I don't live in.

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      It's Oracle. There'll be a free-at-first licensing model that flips us over and finds new and unusual ways to get their tithe.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Suitsme fine I won't clam ignorance of TickTock, but I have never used it, and the sooner its gone the better.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Why? If you've never used it, why do you want it gone?

          1. logicalextreme Silver badge

            "We fear change"

            — Garth Algar, 1992

      2. gerdesj Silver badge
        Boffin

        Tithe means one tenth. Oracle never stoops to such a paltry profit margin.

    4. Julz Silver badge

      That isn't the DoD contract you are looking for

      Or perhaps it is...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I really like the app, but I can't see how it's worth more than £3 and a mars bar.

    6. uncle sjohie

      It's probably cheaper then funding the NSA?

    7. justChapman
      Linux

      It has nothing to do with entertainment.

      Oracle's interest has absolutely nothing to do with the entertainment value of TikTok; It's the data mining capablity. Hello? - a database company wants the data from a vastly popular app that collects vast amounts of data from its users.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: It has nothing to do with entertainment.

        All of who are going to switch to the next app when US Spyware TikTok is banned everywhere else and in the USA requires you to view an ad for presidential candidate Larry every time you log in

    8. confused and dazed

      makes you wonder

      Just wonder how much stuff would cost if we weren't all paying for so much vacuous marketing and advertising ...........

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    If HP come in with a better offer don't take it!!!!

    1. keith_w Bronze badge

      HP'd probably mess it up so badly that you wouldn't have to worry about what they were doing with your personal data - they wouldn't be able to find it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "HP'd probably mess it up so badly"

        They'd still claim they'd be cheated, sue and try to get whoever they could from the vendors jailed for wire fraud. Maybe the CEO who baled out thought they were going to bid.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          HP buyout

          If HP bought it, expect the colour version of the videos to be extortionately priced, and when you got half way through the video, it would just stop and need a refill of colours before playing to the end.... Oh, and only HP approved colours and videos would work.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I've read that Wal-Mart are interested too.

      The world has officially gone batshit.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I can't see that amount being justified by the IP nor any tangible assets they may have for a US operation. It can only be justified by the user base and the prospects for growing it further. But there's no guarantee that a use base can be retained let alone grown as MySpace demonstrated years ago. Somehow I can't see Oracle managing anything in a manner that keeps the user base regarding it as cool.

    All of which prompts the thought of where do Social Networks go in the future? There seems to be a generational issue. A new cohort of prospective users is likely to reject the network their elders are using simply because that's what their elders are using, even if that means their elder siblings. Could the future be the ability to pop up new ones every few years? Could social network servers become commodity software? I rather suspect you could even cobble up something to get a new network off the ground out of a selection of NextCloud modules and some UI bells and whistles. SNaaS? SNSPs?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Simples....

      TikTok has source files showing they invented social media and video streaming.

      Oracle plans to let TikTok continue as is for a few years and then sue Facebook/YouTube etc

      (c) anonymous coward enterprises plc (for when Oracle steals my cunning plan)

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        That would be a recipee for MAJOR WIN!

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      You don't really need to look further than General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital. Any kind of ban would probably put paid to their plans for a very profitable IPO or sale. They could probably sue, and being American companies, would stand a good chance in court of compensation – Trump's executive order probably will not stand judicial review.

      The sums being talked about are part of negotiations between investors. Presumably some kind of "white knight" is supposed to buy TikTok in return for a slice of the action later when its's sold on/back/IPO'd.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    It's a strange and sad world...

    ... when an app has a value more than double the value of the whole Sun Microsystems....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a strange and sad world...

      Its called a bubble.

      EV car companies that don't even have a product to sell are somehow worth more than ford.

  6. Dinanziame Bronze badge
    Devil

    Well, that would be one way for TikTok to die

    1. Scene it all

      Yes, Oracle is where technology goes to die.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        After all it is called "Oracle" you know?

        "....Yes, Oracle is where technology goes to die...."

        It is called Oracle :-)

  7. Lorribot Bronze badge

    year three Oracle licensing

    So you have it on your Phone, we wrote an app that works on your telly and your IoT fridge, also you kids have phones, a laptop and tablets and you might run it on those as well so that means you owe us $300 per month (just $1 per virtual core). If you uninstall it you still have to pay as we won't let you delete your account and you might want to reinistate it at some point in the future.

    What do you mean you didn't read the EULA before clicking on OK?

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: year three Oracle licensing

      Watch how fast Oracle get their ass handed back to them in the circut curt if they ever tried this. Its one thing to pull it with a Database package ment for the Enterpise Market.It will be another to clam this about every Phone in existance. besides it won't be the enduser the like of Oracle will be after, but players like Google, and Samsung. Who are stealing the java code to run the OS.

    2. Scene it all

      Re: year three Oracle licensing

      Like those un-removable Facebook apps that are on some phones. "You installed the app, you owe us money."

  8. HildyJ Silver badge
    Devil

    Just desserts

    " it was assumed it came about due to Ellison's close relationship with the Trump administration"

    It would be amusing if Bezos bought it. Maybe make it a subsidiary of his Washington Post.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Just desserts

      It would be amusing if Bezos bought it. Maybe make it a subsidiary of his Washington Post.

      Ah, so he could use it for pushing more lies and fear-mongering. Great.

      1. Alister Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Just desserts

        @jelabarre59

        Ah, so he could use it for pushing more lies and fear-mongering. Great.

        From the above, you appear to be a Trump supporter?

        So what's you opinion of giving the Chinese $10bn and a 6% share of Oracle then?

        That's really sticking it to them, isn't it...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just desserts

        > Ah, so he could use it for pushing more lies and fear-mongering. Great.

        Only if he repeated what Trump says verbatim.

  9. Grunchy

    I have nothing to do with Oracle or Tik Tok so whatever.

    It's like, "blocks of ice found on mars!" and I'm all, whatever.

    1. logicalextreme Silver badge

      I was gonna say, it's a perfect match. Just gives me another reason to not use either of them.

  10. AdamWill

    let's count up the weirdnesses here

    1. $20bn? Twenty freaking billion dollars?

    2. How do you even buy "the US operations" of a determinedly international social network? What *are* the "US operations"? Does the network split into a US one and an international one? This whole "US operations" thing keeps getting mentioned like it's a perfectly reasonable concept, but I'm yet to read a convincing explanation of what it's actually going to *mean*.

    3. Microsoft and...Wal-Mart for some reason? What?

    4. A 'profit-sharing' deal? Does TikTok actually make any profits? I thought the answer was no.

    1. herman Silver badge

      Re: let's count up the weirdnesses here

      I suppose it means yet more geo-fencing of IP addresses.

      Corporations keep re-inventing Compuserve and America Online.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: let's count up the weirdnesses here

      I use TikTok. Many of the people I see are American.

      Does this mean they'll be gone from my feed?

      That's probably the end of TikTok in Europe if that happens - if half the content disappears overnight.

  11. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Keeping it local

    Is the logical follow on from this, that the Chinese government can oblige American multinationals to sell off their profitable Chinese operations to Chinese companies whenever the Chinese government wishes?

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Keeping it local

      "Is the logical follow on from this, that the Chinese government can oblige American multinationals to sell off their profitable Chinese operations to Chinese companies whenever the Chinese government wishes?"

      I was under the impression that that was already the case. All foreign companies need a local 'partner' that takes all of the technology and 51% of the venture. Or am I wrong about that? It's supposed to be one of the main issues that World minus China has with China.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: Keeping it local

        Same or similar thing happens in most countries around the world. It's quite unusual that you get the situation you do in the UK, when pretty well anyone with pockets full of cash can buy whatever they want. Including it seems our national infrastructure. Some might question the wisdom of that position.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Keeping it local

          "Some might question the wisdom of that position."

          And some people chant that Brentford are the greatest football team the world has ever seen.

          It doesn't make them right.

          1. Julz Silver badge

            Re: Keeping it local

            Oh I don't know, if your a Brentford fan it probably does. Rightness is a bit like truth, mostly dependents upon who and when you ask.

          2. Alister Silver badge

            Re: Keeping it local

            It doesn't make them right.

            So you think those that question the wisdom of selling off our national infrastructure are wrong, do you?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Keeping it local

              Yes, obviously. Because they are insane.

              Just because something is populist ( government running businesses ) doesn't mean that it's right.

              1. Glen 1 Silver badge

                Re: Keeping it local

                "Because they are insane"

                Glass houses, old bean.

                *looks at username*

                Oh but of course, I should've known.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Keeping it local

                  "*looks at username*

                  Oh but of course, I should've known."

                  "Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells" doesn't mean what you think it means. I suggest you Google it.

                  1. Glen 1 Silver badge

                    Re: Keeping it local

                    I know what it means. Do you?

                    Wiki

                    However, in this case I was referring to you, personally.

                    *You* are the person who used the words "Nasty little nationalist" and "Racist" to describe a Scot critical of the "English Empire". Irony, it would seem, is not just a thing like Goldy and Bronzy.

                    Calling someone "insane" for questioning the wisdom of selling off our national infrastructure... as if wanting value for money is alien to you - or something that a private company can be absolutely trusted with Honest 'guv. Yeah, I'd say you were a foaming-mouthed cloud cuckoo-lander (apologies to the non-neurotypical). But given parts of your post history, that checks out. Like I said, I should have known it was you.

        2. Manu T

          Re: Keeping it local

          It's the same in many countries across EU.

          Just look at Belgium. Their own nuclear powerplants are sold to the french. Their major TV-cable and 2nd largest Internet network is American. I could go on.

          Politicians are the biggest thieves of them all!

      2. confuciussays

        Re: Keeping it local

        The Chinese government changed the law to allow 100% owned foreign entities as part of a recent round of "opening up" reforms. The Tesla plant in Shanghai was the first major example of this policy put into practice. It would seem that as China continues to open-up access to its markets, now the largest in the world by many measures, the US is heading in the opposite direction. Strange times.

    2. confuciussays

      Re: Keeping it local

      I think whoever buys this app in a forced-sale should not value their operations in China. It doesn't even need the Chinese government to do anything. For example, the Chinese people when surveyed made it clear that if WeChat (the other part of the Trumpian ban that has over 1bn users in China) is blocked from their Apple iPhones they will be dumping them on mass.

      As for the value of TikTok, a US only isolated version may well become worthless pretty quickly. Users in China and elsewhere outside of the US sphere of control will carry on regardless.

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I've never used Tik Tok

    and if Oracle buy it I never will.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I've never used Tik Tok

      Even if they don't buy it I never will.

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Tiktok? I use it every day! If I need a video of a teenage girl dancing badly in a proposal for a VoIP system, it's my go-to site. In fact in any business scenario where you need stupid teenage crap, it's a lifesaver!

  14. Bonzo_red

    Tick Tock

    Just hope that after the acquisition, Oracle does not claim it owns the copyright to "tick tock".

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Tick Tock

      Why? If they can clam copyright, and stop this plage on the internet. I say more freaking power to Team Red!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tick Tock

        In what way does TikTok's existence or use interfere with your life in a negative way?

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Tick Tock

      Just hope that after the acquisition, Oracle does not claim it owns the copyright to "tick tock".

      I think Lewis Carroll might have prior copyright on that... (especially with the trend towards eternal copyrights).

  15. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Gee I have a bad feeling about this

    Personaly I wouldn't give you 0.20p for Tiktok.let alone 20,000,000,000.00$ for it, and I can't for the life of imagine that in the blue hell Elison would want with it either. I could see Zucck, or Satnad, doing something with it. but, Oracle?!

    1. Steve K Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Gee I have a bad feeling about this

      They can move the infrastructure to Oracle's Cloud as they have the empty capacity that no one else is buying...

  16. John70

    Buy It

    Let Oracle buy it. It won't be long before the next flavour of the month video sharing app appears and TikTok becomes worthless.

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Buy It

      My hope is that Oracle will make it as user-friendly as their main product with lots of add-on products as well. TikTok will then become the default video-sharing site of governments and large corporations and have a licence structure as easy to understand as that of Oracle.

  17. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    My working theory is that the TikTok owners have bribed Trump to do this, in order to get otherwise sensible US companies to get into a bidding war for the new Friends Reunited, before the users move on to whatever app they find next.

    For $20bn you could set up your own rival service and then bribe every American teenager to join. Quick Google gives us 42m adolescents in the US so that's $476.19 each!

  18. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
    Black Helicopters

    "ByteDance might be ordered by Beijing to spy on millions of American teens using the popular mobile app, it is claimed."

    And this is bad, because Washington wants to spy on those millions of American teens, thank you very much... (/sarcasm)

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      "ByteDance might be ordered by Beijing to spy on millions of American teens using the popular mobile app, it is claimed."

      So what is it exactly the the US doesn't want China to know about American teens, that they can't dance and are not any cooler than other badly dancing teens around the world?

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        So what is it exactly the the US doesn't want China to know about American teens, that they can't dance and are not any cooler than other badly dancing teens around the world?

        Yeah, the Japanese dance teams are way better at dancing (seriously, go watch any dance videos with Miume & Kamen Liar 217).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's probably not the teens they're after but their parents.

        You know, the ones whom pay for their super-expensive smartphones and phone bills. I gather that some of these parents might have "important" positions or are wealthy or perhaps just being influential.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "So what is it exactly the the US doesn't want China to know about American teens"

        T'other way about. Trump wants to find out who organised the mass bookings that messed up his rally. A China-based TikTok is outside the reach of the CLOUD Act.

  19. Annihilator Silver badge

    In summary

    Trump's actions have just sent $20bn to China. Take that, trade wars...

    In fact, it's worse. $10bn has just gone to China, and the company that Trump et al don't trust have a $10bn share (6%) in Oracle.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: In summary

      Exactly. If further proof were needed to refute Trump's claim to be the bestest businessman evah, look right here. No wonder his businesses went bankrupt.

  20. codemonkey

    Repeat after me...

    I love the free market!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, that 'profit share promise' will be worth a lot once the first sanctions hit. America definitely not going to renege on a promise to pay China profits from one of it's tech companies.

  22. Mark192 Bronze badge

    They don't understand what they're bidding for

    They don't understand what they're bidding for and are never going to turn a profit if bidding that much.

    Worse, adults are now using it - the platform doomed as the kids move on.

    1. Trev 2

      Re: They don't understand what they're bidding for

      Exactly, its only "cool" until it becomes uncool and the next thing takes over. Then it becomes MySpace or Friends Reunited. Absolutely worthless.

      I seem to remember some mention of the US tax payer getting a cut. Wonder what the other countries in this 5-eyes thing will think of that.

      Ah well, good to see Larry wasting money.

  23. Thought About IT

    Value added

    I hadn't heard of TikTok until I saw this sketch by Sarah Cooper mouthing Trump's inanities about Covid 19. It adds value, but $20 billion!

  24. BillyBerkshire

    The Art of the Steal

    "I've still got it" boasts Donnie.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Update your info

    "It is expected the eventual buyer will pick up the American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand branches of TikTok – countries all part of the Five Eyes group of nations who cooperate on intelligence, funnily enough."

    It is now up to Fourteen Eyes. Those 5 + Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway + Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. (ref: Edward Snowden documents, they are called SIGINT Seniors Europe, or "SSEUR").

  26. Jonjonz

    If I was a foreign run social media platform, I would hope some of my teen users would majorly mock the current LUMPOTUS to push his buttons so he demands that some US company pay billions of dollars to purchase the US version.

  27. Maximum Delfango Bronze badge
    Pint

    If Trump had true bigly clevering...

    The he'd split it up into Tik and Tok and get the Chinese to pay up twice, or something. Bigly excellent!

  28. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Big Brother

    $20 billion

    That's putting a high price on the misuse customer information, but I bet that some foreign governments might pay Oracle a lot of money for it.

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