Larry Ellison’s TikTok bid puts Oracle chairman back in the spotlight

Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison’s pursuit of a deal with TikTok could win him two prizes at once: a flashy new customer for his company’s lagging cloud-computing business and a victory over a fierce rival.

Mr. Ellison, 76 years old and chairman of the company, has reason to be a big fan of Chinese-owned TikTok, a video-sharing app famously beloved by young people. But first Oracle, TikTok and their partners have to get a deal done that could return the business-software company to the center of the tech world.

Mr. Ellison maneuvered Oracle ahead of Microsoft Corp. in the race to become TikTok’s U.S. tech partner, and personally lobbied President Trump to sign off on a preliminary agreement, people familiar with the talks said.


Under the current deal terms, Oracle and Walmart Inc. would take a combined 20% stake in a new U.S.-based TikTok. Oracle would guarantee the security of U.S. user information to satisfy White House concerns that China’s government might get access to such data. But the parties, including TikTok’s Beijing-based owner, ByteDance Ltd., are still finalizing their agreement and need approval from both the U.S. and Chinese governments.

Oracle hasn’t said what it would pay for its planned 12.5% stake, though based on estimates for TikTok’s total valuation the investment could top $7 billion. An initial public offering of TikTok in the U.S., which the preliminary deal says would happen within a year, could return some of that money.

Winning the TikTok contest would pay other dividends for Mr. Ellison, most significantly boosting Oracle’s efforts to gain traction in the hot