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Diller: TikTok deal a 'crock'

Media mogul Barry Diller on Tuesday called the TikTok deal in which Oracle and Walmart will take minority stakes in the Chinese app “a crock.”

“The whole thing is a crock,” said Diller, the chairman of Expedia and IAC, during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“It started, obviously, simply: to say we want to protect the security of Americans from anything that could happen to them by using TikTok,” Diller said. “It has now morphed into a ludicrous game-match between tossing ownership here, control there. … Its original aims are out the window. It has just come a whole political mishmash.”

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE has said he would approve the deal, which has raised a number of questions — including whether ByteDance, the original Chinese owner of TikTok, will retain control and influence over the new U.S. company.

Trump has said the arrangement will protect U.S. consumers and national security. 

Diller told CNBC that he has “no idea how it settles” and that “the whole thing has been stirred up for no great, good reason.”

He said the U.S. is “tossing this grenade about protectionism” and argued it is likely to lead to retaliatory actions by China. 

“Once you say we won’t do this because of you, the reciprocal out of that is going to be just as bad,” he said. “And that, once you start it, it’s inevitable that that race just keeps going up and up and up and prevents just natural commerce.”

Under the deal announced over the weekend, Oracle would take a 12.5 percent ownership stake and Walmart a 7.5 percent ownership stake in TikTok. ByteDance’s investors would keep most of the company's shares under the announced deal. 

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The negotiations came after Trump signed an executive order mandating TikTok to be bought by a U.S. company within 45 days or be banned in the country.

Trump said he’d approve the deal, but in an interview Monday morning suggested to “Fox & Friends” that the agreement may not last if U.S. companies don’t have full control of the app. 

There is conflicting information about how much ownership ByteDance will continue to have in the company, with ByteDance saying Monday it will maintain control over the app and the associated algorithm. Oracle Executive Vice President Ken Glueck contradicted ByteDance in a Monday statement, saying, “Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.”