Bottom line: Microsoft is joining forces with retail giant Walmart in its bid to acquire TikTok’s US business arm from Chinese tech company ByteDance. The move could put increased pressure on others vying for the asset, like Oracle, but could also complicate the sales process.
CNBC was first to report on the partnership, which the publication said was confirmed by a Walmart spokesperson.
Axios suggests Walmart could help turn TikTok into more of an e-commerce app for users and creators. ByteDance apparently does something similar with another app in China, the publication noted.
The news comes shortly after TikTok CEO and ByteDance COO Kevin Mayer resigned from both positions after just a couple of months at the helm. Mayer had left a job at The Walt Disney Company for the roles.
Oracle, the database and cloud specialist based out of California, has also emerged as a frontrunner for TikTok in recent weeks. It’s plausible that Walmart also reached out to Oracle on a partnership but that’s mostly speculation at this hour.
Walmart as a partner could represent a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, the company has plenty of resources and e-commerce know-how. Conversely, Walmart already has a significant footprint in China which could make gaining regulatory approval a bit more complicated.
ByteDance could make its decision regarding the fate of TikTok in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as early as next week.