- Walmart has partnered with Microsoft on a bid for TikTok, the retail giant told CNBC’s Alex Sherman.
- TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is expected to announce in the coming days an agreement to sell the app’s U.S. operations to avoid a nationwide ban on the app.
- Walmart is the latest US company to go public as a potential buyer. Other rumored interested parties include Oracle, Twitter and a group of US investors from ByteDance.
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Walmart says it is working with Microsoft in a bid to acquire part of TikTok’s operations and avoid the threat of an app ban in the United States.
Walmart told CNBC it has partnered with the tech giant, which has long been the frontrunner in acquisition negotiations. Microsoft confirmed in late July that it was considering an offer to acquire TikTok’s operations in the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – a deal valued at between $ 10 billion and $ 50 billion.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is exploring the sale of some of the app’s operations, including those in the United States, since the Trump administration first threatened to ban the platform to United States earlier this summer. An agreement is expected to be finalized in the coming days, according to several press reports.
CNBC first announced Friday that Walmart was exploring an offer on TikTok with investment firm SoftBank. Representatives for Walmart, SoftBank and Microsoft did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment on the reported offer for the social media app.
Walmart is just the latest company to be linked in the bidding war for part of TikTok, an app with 100 million monthly active users in the United States and more than two billion downloads worldwide. With a steep price tag, TikTok’s US operations are something few companies can afford. Microsoft and Walmart – with market caps of $ 1.73 trillion and $ 373 billion, respectively – are two of those companies that could close a multibillion-dollar deal.
CNBC first said that a deal between Walmart and TikTok would be unlikely to be successful because the offering does not provide any cloud technology solutions. However, the addition of Microsoft brings the company’s Azure service, which TikTok could potentially switch to if such a deal goes through.
Other names have floated around in recent weeks, including Twitter, Netflix, Apple, and Alphabet. Microsoft and Oracle have emerged as the pioneers, with various outlets giving conflicting reports on who is in the lead. Although Microsoft has ties to ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming, a former Microsoft employee, Oracle has verbal support from President Donald Trump.
ByteDance has been exploring acquisition talks since the Trump administration first announced its intention to force the China-based company to sever ties with TikTok in the United States – or face a nationwide ban. The US government alleges that the Chinese government can access the data of US TikTok users, posing a risk to national security. TikTok has consistently refused to provide access to this data and claims that its US data is stored on servers in the US and Singapore.
Since late July, Trump has issued two separate executive orders targeting TikTok in recent weeks. The most recent gave a 90-day deadline, which falls in mid-November, for ByteDance to divest TikTok’s US operations.