ByteDance gets extension on Trump’s TikTok divestiture order

Under pressure from the Trump administration, ByteDance has been in talks with Walmart and Oracle to shift TikTok’s US assets.

ByteDance filed a petition with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the Trump administration's divestiture order [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]

The administration of United States President Donald Trump granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of a divestiture order that had directed the Chinese company to sell its TikTok short video-sharing app by Thursday.

TikTok first disclosed the extension earlier in a court filing, saying it now has until November 27 to reach an agreement. Under pressure from the US government, ByteDance has been in talks for a deal with Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to shift TikTok’s US assets into a new entity.

The Treasury Department said on Friday the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) granted the 15-day extension to “provide the parties and the committee additional time to resolve this case in a manner that complies with the Order.”

ByteDance filed a petition on Tuesday with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the Trump administration divestiture order.

ByteDance said on Tuesday CFIUS sought “to compel the wholesale divestment of TikTok, a multibillion-dollar business built on technology developed by” ByteDance and based on the government’s review of the Chinese company’s 2017 acquisition of

President Donald Trump, in an August 14 order, had directed ByteDance to divest the app within 90 days.

The Trump administration contended TikTok posed national security concerns, saying the personal data of US users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok, which has more than 100 million US users, has denied the allegations.

Trump has said the Walmart-Oracle deal had his “blessing”.

One big issue that has persisted is about the ownership structure of the new company, TikTok Global, which would own TikTok’s US assets.

In Tuesday’s court filing, ByteDance said it submitted a fourth proposal last Friday that contemplated addressing US concerns “by creating a new entity, wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing US investors in ByteDance, that would be responsible for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation”.

Separate restrictions on TikTok from the US Commerce Department have been blocked by federal courts, including transaction curbs that were scheduled to take effect on Thursday, which TikTok warned could effectively ban the app’s use in the US.

A Commerce Department ban on Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google offering TikTok for download for new US users that had been set to take effect on September 27 has also been blocked.

Source: Reuters