TikTok’s proposed sale of its U.S. operations to Oracle and Walmart, which followed an executive order from the Trump administration threatening to ban the app stateside if it did not sell to an American owner, has been shelved indefinitely, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The news arrives as the Biden administration is apparently in the process of conducting its own review of the security risks posed by Chinese tech platforms — which is why Trump claimed to have threatened to block the app in the first place.
The Journal notes that TikTok’s negotiations with Oracle and Walmart — in which the two companies would take a 20% stake in TikTok amid the formation of a new entity called TikTok Global, which would undergo a U.S. public offering within 12 months of the sale — had yet to be finalized because TikTok had posed a series of successful legal challenges against Trump’s executive order.
“We plan to develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data that addresses the full range of threats we face,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told the Journal in a statement. “This includes the risk posed by Chinese apps and other software that operate in the U.S. In the coming months, we expect to review specific cases in light of a comprehensive understanding of the risks we face.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed this notion today in her press briefing today, adding, “We are comprehensively evaluating the risks to U.S. data, including from TikTok, and will address them in a decisive and effective fashion.” She declined to provide a specific timeline.
The Journal notes that the Biden administration’s cybersecurity review is likely being spearheaded by national security advisor Jake Sullivan, White House coordinator on China policy Kurt Campbell, and Peter Harrell, the senior director at the National Security Council for international economics and competitiveness.
Notably, despite the fact that Walmart has yet to officially acquire a stake in TikTok, the two companies have collaborated in other ways. In December, Walmart hosted a shoppable live stream for the holiday season that marked a new format for the platform.