US retail giant – and parent of the UK’s Asda chain – Walmart is joining Microsoft in a bid to buy the US arm of Chinese social media site TikTok in a deal that is thought to be clinched by next week.
According to US news network CNBC, Walmart has confirmed its interest in joining the buy up, which is under pressure to be agreed as soon as possible with US president Donald Trump insisting that the social site be sold into non-Chinese ownership or be banned from the US.
In a statement a statement to CNBC, Walmart said: “The way TikTok has integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets 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. 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.”
Walmart already works closely with Microsoft, having sealed a deal to use Microsoft 365 and Azure across its business. The addition of a social site like TikTok, which has been built from the ground up to drive marketing and ecommerce through video interaction would put the retailer in an interesting new place that could see it taking on Amazon.
The Walmart TikTok involvement also comes just hours after Kevin Mayer quit as TikTok CEO due to ongoing political turmoil. Trump demanded that an American company purchase TikTok’s US business, and Microsoft has emerged as the front runner in the ongoing talks.