One of the wealthiest in the world, Ellison has built extensive bridges with Trump. He has expressed vocal support for the president and reportedly hosted a major foundation stone for him this year where donors who paid $ 100,000 were offered a chance to golf with Trump.
Nor will the investigation be limited to Ellison; Oracle CEO Safra Catz also shared a close relationship with Trump. According to data from the Federal Election Commission, it has donated more than $ 130,000 to Trump’s reunion efforts this year. Katz served on Trump’s presidential transition team in 2016 and considered a point for position inside the administration. Both Katz and Alison have dedicated Trump’s industry working groups to economic revival.
Oracle did not respond to requests for comment. The White House declined to comment.
Trump raised eyebrows last month when he publicly endorsed the possibility of a deal involving Tickcock and Oracle. At the time, Oracle and Microsoft were competing to acquire TikTok, with Microsoft widely seen as the frontrunner. Oracle, experts said, lacks experience in consumer services and does not offer any products in the social media arena.
But on Sunday evening, sources told CNN that Ticketok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, had sided with Oracle over Microsoft. Oracle and Treasury Secretary Steven Menuchin confirmed the proposed deal on Monday. In a statement, TikTok said it believed the proposal would “solve the administration’s security concerns.”
Administration officials have complained for months that Tiktok represents a risk to national security due to its current ownership by a Chinese firm. Tiktok has rejected claims that it stored all US users’ data outside China and that the information is not subject to Chinese law; Cyber security experts have said that there is no evidence that TikTok compromised Chinese intelligence.
Oracle’s proposed partnership with TikTok still needs to be reviewed by the US government. And it’s unclear whether those discussions will be resolved before the Trump administration ban against Tickcock goes into effect on September 20, though Mnuchin said the government will study the deal this week.
Asked directly whether Ellison’s relationship with Trump was a factor in negotiating the proposed deal, a person familiar with the negotiations insisted that it was “a political decision, not a political decision.”
But outside analysts said it is impossible to separate one from the other, given Trump’s personality. Trump has a track record of injecting himself into volatile neutral public policy processes. For example, Trump appeared to intervene in a multi-billion-dollar cloud contract decision that many Amazon hoped to win; Eventually, and after a quiet pressure campaign by Oracle, the Pentagon awarded the deal to Microsoft. In another closely scrutinized case, Trump vowed to block AT & T’s acquisition of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN). The announcement surprised experts as the antitrust review of the merger is expected to take place independently of the president’s influence.
As the Oracle-Tiktok talks progressed, some reports described how Microsoft has built its own relationship with the Trump administration.
Still, Microsoft’s connections were no match for Ellison, said Eric Schiffer, president of Patriarch Organization, a tech-focused public equity firm.
“Microsoft has done everything they possibly can to show up at a rally with a MAGA cap.” “There is no question that the conventional wisdom was that Microsoft was strategically positioned to create great political endowments in administration and politics well with Trump compared to most corporations. But that didn’t happen to Larry either. ”
Other experts said that even though Ellison’s ties to Trump gave Oracle an edge, at the end of the day the proposal would still have to adequately resolve the US government’s national security concerns.
Harry Broadman, a partner at Berkeley Research Group and former member Harry Broadman, said the proposal described Oracle as halting the sale of TeakTalk, which could conflict with Trump’s August 14 executive order. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a governmental body that does certain deals that may give foreign investors control of an American business.
“Yes, Larry is friends with Allison Trump, and it would probably mean something, I don’t know,” Broadman said. “But there are executive orders out there, and people have to see what the executive order says, how it complies.”
Former Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos on Facebook said whether the Oracle deal goes through security depends heavily on the specifics of the deal.
“A Deal Where Oracle Takes On Hosting [of TikTok’s data] Without the source code and significant operational changes, no legitimate concerns about TikTok would be resolved, and the White House acknowledged such a deal, demonstrating that the practice was pure grift, “Stamos Tweeted