In an unlikely pairing, Oracle backs TikTok to drive OCI business and intimidate IaaS competitors

Acquisition turned partnership: Oracle bands together with TikTok

Oracle’s presence in TikTok-related news — from competitive bid to strategic partnership to now minority stakeholder — has raised eyebrows from the beginning, given the company’s complete detachment from the social media business. Oracle executives have not been shy about expressing their support for the current White House administration, nor for their plans to take IaaS share from Amazon Web Services (AWS) (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

In fact, Microsoft, which showed great interest in TikTok initially, had far more to gain from a potential deal. However, regardless of how Oracle was brought into consideration, the agreement has the potential to benefit Oracle in several ways, including stronger governmental ties, gaining a win over Microsoft, onboarding a new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) customer, owning a stake in a profitable company, and lastly, earning the chance to convince the market that Oracle is evolving from an old-school software company to an adaptive cloud vendor that has ties with an up-and-coming generation.  

What does this mean for Oracle’s cloud business?

Big logos give Oracle a confidence boost in chasing competitors, with AWS as leading target

In many ways, TikTok is just another name Oracle can add to its roster of recent high-profile OCI wins, including Zoom and 8×8. Despite the attention that was given to these deals amid COVID-19, Zoom still runs most of its workloads on AWS or in its own data centers. This latest win follows a similar trend, as TikTok is in the middle of a three-year agreement with Google Cloud (Nasdaq: GOOGL), promising to buy over $800 million in cloud services.

However, as part of Oracle’s 12.5% stake in the new company, TikTok will also run on OCI. While this allows Oracle to boast a win over Microsoft and Google Cloud, IaaS incumbent AWS remains the company’s primary target. Recent updates, such as a cost-analysis tool, plans to scale to 36 live public cloud regions by mid-2021, and strategic technology partnerships with Microsoft and VMware (NYSE: VMW) are just a few ways Oracle will continue to apply the pressure.

After months of deliberation on the fate of TikTok — a social media application owned by China-based internet technology company ByteDance — due to security concerns raised by the Trump administration, the U.S. government and involved parties came to a tentative agreement on Sept. 19.

Per the agreement, TikTok will transition to a publicly traded U.S. company, with Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) as initial stakeholders. Under the new deal, ByteDance will hold an 80% stake in the new company, dubbed TikTok Global, which is scheduled to hit the market through an initial public offering in less than one year. Combined, Oracle and Walmart will hold the remaining 20% stake, leveraging data to improve their respective positions in technology and retail. While TikTok will maintain control of its algorithms, the deal will still bring TikTok under U.S. financial law and subject it to security oversight by Oracle as a vested technology partner.

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