WASHINGTON - Donald Trump said he's approved Oracle Corp.'s bid for the U.S. operations of TikTok "in concept," a deal forced by the president's orders last month declaring the popular video-sharing app a national security threat.
"I have given the deal my blessing. If they get it done that's great. If they don't, that's OK too," Trump told reporters Saturday as he left the White House for a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C. "I approved the deal in concept."
The new company, which will be called TikTok Global, has agreed to donate $5 billion to an education fund, which Trump said would satisfy his demand that the government receive a payment from the deal.
"They're going to be setting up a very large fund," Trump said. "That's their contribution that I've been asking for."
TikTok Global will likely be headquartered in Texas and will hire "at least" 25,000 people, Trump said.
That figure could not be immediately verified. Facebook Inc., the largest U.S. social media company, employed about 45,000 people in 2019, while Twitter Inc. employed only 4,900, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The deal is the result of Trump's orders last month over national security concerns about TikTok's ownership by ByteDance Ltd., a Chinese company.
The Chinese government must now sign off on the transaction for it to go forward.
Trump is ramping up pressure on Chinese-owned apps in the weeks before the Nov. 3 presidential elections, citing national security concerns about the data U.S. citizens provide to them and the potential for Beijing to use them for spying. The president is trailing his opponent Joe Biden in polls and has sought to portray himself as tougher on Beijing than the Democrat.
Under the terms of the agreement between the two companies, Bytedance retains a majority of TikTok's assets and control over the algorithm, with Oracle and other U.S. investors taking minority stakes.