Walmart seem to have joined Microsoft in a bid to acquire TikTok as the short video sharing platform has been given 90 days to either sell it’s US arm to an American firm or face ban in the country. This decision was made prior to Donald Trump alleging that it shares users data with Beijing – A claims TikTok have come out to deny.
The news follows TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer’s surprise resignation on Wednesday. He noted in a letter to staffs that “the political environment has sharply changed” since he first joined the company.
In a statement on Thursday, Walmart said it was “confident” that its joint deal with Microsoft would satisfy both TikTok users and U.S. government regulators. Microsoft have since declined to comment on Walmart’s announcement.
“The way TikTok integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets,” Walmart said. “We believe a potential relationship with TikTok US 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.”
So Walmart teaming up with Microsoft “is the final piece of the puzzle that ultimately cements Microsoft successfully acquiring TikTok’s US operations for likely $35 billion to $40 billion,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note on Thursday.
Walmart would be clearly interested in owning TikTok for its potential e-commerce and advertising capabilities to further boost its consumer presence as it further compete with Amazon in the field – Ives said.
Walmart earlier this year sold its video-streaming service Vudu, but still has a deal with Eko, an interactive-video company. Walmart and Microsoft already have a strategic partnership around the tech company’s cloud business.
While the Trump administration has targeted TikTok because of its ties to China, the company has long maintained that its American app is independently run and that U.S. users’ data is stored outside of China, in Virginia with there backup storage in Singapore.