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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump hasn't yet blessed ByteDance's proposed savior plan for TikTok, featuring Oracle as a "trusted technology partner."

The state of play: This deal is not fait accompli, despite some media reports yesterday that there would be an announcement before nightfall. But the odds remain in its favor.

What might come next

1. CFIUS would grant an extension.

  • Trump's 45-day "deal or ban" executive order was soon followed by a 90-day requirement that ByteDance divest what now is effectively TikTok.
  • This Oracle deal is easier to execute than an acquisition would have been, but it's still highly unlikely that all of it could be completed by mid-October.

2. TikTok would drop its lawsuit against Trump's EO.

  • It's unclear if this is part of ByteDance's formal submission to CFIUS, but doing so would be a reasonable quid pro quo.

3. TikTok would hire a CEO.

  • The U.S. business is currently being led by Vanessa Pappas, a YouTube vet who was general manager before Kevin Mayer's surprise resignation.
  • She may be in the mix, but don't be surprised to see TikTok's new board scour the C-suite at companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Disney (which was Mayer's former home). Or maybe even from Walmart, which is expected to invest in the new entity.

4. "TikTok Inc." would try to consolidate.

  • TikTok is a global app, but all that's being proposed here is a tech cleave of its U.S. business. From a practical perspective, that could make it difficult for a Los Angeles user to view content created by a London user, and vice versa.
  • Given that other Western governments have expressed discomfort with ByteDance, don't be surprised if other geographies eventually get folded into the Oracle agreement. The finances could get sticky.

The bottom line: White House approval would be the beginning, not the end, of what needs to be done to create the new TikTok.

Go deeper: "Axios Re:Cap" podcast takes a look at how the TikTok saga is playing inside of China, with CNBC Beijing bureau chief Eunice Yoon. Listen via Apple, Spotify, or Axios.

Go deeper

Oct 7, 2020 - Technology

Justices hear Oracle and Google code arguments

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Lawyers for Oracle and Google debated whether programming interfaces are copyrightable as the companies' decade-long legal fight arrived at U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments Wednesday.

Why it matters: Both sides agreed that the case could determine the future health of software innovation, and both offered dire predictions — what justices repeatedly called "sky is falling" arguments — should the other side prevail. There's also money involved: Oracle is asking for nearly $9 billion in damages from Google for its use of Java code in the Android operating system.

Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of COVID-19 cases

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo: THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Belgium is enforcing a strict lockdown starting Sunday amid rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and a surge of deaths, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday.

Why it matters: De Croo said the government saw no choice but to lock down "to ensure that our health care system does not collapse." Scientists and health officials said deaths have doubled every six days, per the Guardian.

24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Reid Hoffman launches $1M ad urging election patience

Screengrab of ad

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, one of Democrats' biggest donors, tells Axios he's launching a $1 million digital ad campaign in battleground states urging voters to be patient with election results and prepare for no winner to be known on Nov. 3, no matter what "some people" may prematurely declare via Twitter.

Driving the news: The three-minute ad, titled "We Count! A Patriotic Musical Extravaganza," features the voice of "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons and Broadway star Barrett Doss. The spot will appear on Facebook targeting voters in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.