Just after the news broke that Kevin Mayer resigned as TikTok’s CEO amid rising pressure from the US government, retail giant Walmart said it is working with tech giant Microsoft on its efforts to acquire TikTok’s US business from Chinese-owned ByteDance.
The news was first reported by CNBC. ByteDance is days away from its agreement to sell its US operations having been given an Executive Order by the Trump administration but has not yet chosen a buyer. TikTok has been given 90 days to sell its US operations to an American firm or face a potential ban in the country. If the acquisition goes ahead, it would still have a harder November 12 deadline to complete a sale to a US company or risk being able to operate in the country.
In a statement, Walmart said TikTok’s integration of e-commerce and advertising “is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets.”
“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,” it said. “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.”
This week, TikTok said it has nearly 100 million monthly active U.S. users. If the deal goes ahead, Walmart and Microsoft will be able to access these consumers and no doubt integrate e-commerce in the app.
The likes of US tech giant Oracle have also shown an interest in acquiring the company but there is still the question of who will end up owning TikTok. According to reports, TikTok’s US operations could reach as much as $30 billion (£22 billion) if a deal is agreed.