World’s largest retailer Walmart has reportedly joined tech giant Microsoft to buy short-video sharing app TikTok’s business in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
This latest development came hours after TikTok’s chief executive Kevin Mayer left the company after serving for a period of three months.
The app has over 100 million users across America. But the ongoing dispute with the Donald Trump administration and the pressure to sell its US operations within 90 days have made things difficult for ByteDance.
Microsoft and Walmart are already business partners. The two sides signed a 5-year agreement in 2018. Under the agreement, Microsoft provides cloud computing services that help run the retailer’s stores and online shopping.
Apart from Microsoft, another tech giant Oracle has also expressed interest in buying the Chinese-owned company. Investment firms General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, two major stake holders in ByteDance Ltd., are driving Oracle’s potential bid for TikTok. While ByteDance hasn’t disclosed its asking price for TikTok, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that it is seeking roughly USD 30 billion for TikTok’s US operations.
WSJ reported that bidders so far haven’t been willing to meet that price. TikTok didn’t immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.
An AP report quoted Walmart as saying on Thursday that a deal with Microsoft and TikTok could help it expand its advertising business and reach to customers.
President Trump filed an executive order on August 6, prohibiting ByteDance from doing any transaction in the US for 45 days. On August 14, Trump issued another executive order, giving ByteDance an option to divest its TikTok business in the US within 90 days.
TikTok has filed the lawsuit against the first executive order.
Meanwhile, a Reuter’s report quoted Walmart as saying, “We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of US TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators.”
(With input from agencies)