Partnerships / Acquisitions

Report: Walmart Joins Microsoft On TikTok Bid

A new player has entered the high stakes bid to purchase TikTok, the controversial but popular short video sharing app.

Walmart confirmed it is teaming up with Microsoft Corp. to buy TikTok’s U.S. operation in Culver City, California, CNBC reported.

“We believe a potential relationship with TikTok U.S. in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses,” said Walmart in a statement to the network. “We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of U.S. government regulators.”

The big-box retailer added joining eCommerce and advertising “is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets.”

Shares of Walmart stock rose by nearly 5 percent by 1 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 27) to $138.67, up from $131.08 at the close Wednesday.

Sources told CNBC TikTok’s Beijing, China-based parent company, ByteDance Ltd. is close to a deal to sell its U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations. The sources said the sale could cost Microsoft and Walmart as much as $30 billion.

ByteDance has been at the center of a firestorm since Aug. 6 when President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning transactions with ByteDance if TikTok isn’t sold to a U.S. buyer. The Trump administration has alleged the company could be taking personal information from TikTok users and passing it on to the Chinese government.

ByteDance has denied the allegations.

Since then, TikTok has been in talks with Microsoft and Oracle for a potential purchase.

Also on Thursday, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer told employees he will quit as the company gets closer to a sale and a showdown with the White House over its alleged ties to the Chinese government.

Mayer, a former Walt Disney Co. chief, is leaving the job after just three months as its top executive.

“I understand that the role that I signed up for including running TikTok globally will look very different as a result of the U.S. administration’s action to push for a selloff of the U.S. business,” Mayer wrote in a letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “I’ve always been globally focused in my work, and leading a global team that includes TikTok U.S. was a big draw for me.”

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