Walmart joins the battle for TikTok, partners Microsoft for acquisition bid
Everyone wants a slice of TikTok — the Chinese short video platform that has seen turbulent times lately, especially in India and the US.
While the viral app was banned in India in June, it is up for grabs in the US. The latest to join the TikTok acquisition bid is retail giant Walmart, which has partnered with Microsoft for the deal.
The development was first reported by CNBC. "TikTok is nearing an agreement to sell its US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand operations in a deal that’s likely to be in the $20 billion to $30 billion range, sources say," CNBC stated.
Image Source: People
While there may be no apparent synergies between Walmart and TikTok, the retailer has said in a statement, that TikTok’s integration of ecommerce and advertising “is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets."
For context, TikTok, with its 800-million user base globally, emerged as one of the most viable platforms for brands for driving sales growth and customer engagement.
It is believed that Microsoft's and Walmart's bids were submitted yesterday. The companies are now awaiting a word from TikTok-parent ByteDance. Following the development, Walmart shares climbed five percent on the NYSE.
A Walmart spokesperson was quoted as saying, "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."
TikTok was pushed to scout for a buyer of its US operations in July after government authorities threatened to ban the application for security reasons. Walmart is the latest to join the bidder list. Others include Oracle and Microsoft, of course.
Earlier in the day, TikTok CEO Kevin Meyer resigned from the company, owing to growing uncertainties around its future. In a letter to employees, Meyer stated,
"In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for. Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company."
TikTok's future in India remains uncertain too.
Reliance Industries is reportedly keen on buying the company's local operations. However, there is no official word on this. Prior to the ban, TikTok India had 200 million users, while its parent company ByteDance had 2,000 employees in the country.