Monday, May 20

Walmart joins Microsoft bid to acquire video app TikTok

Washington, Aug 28, 2020: USA based world’s largest retail store Walmart set to bid with Microsoft to acquire Chinese owned video app Tiktok.

Walmart made a joint acquisition bid with Microsoft to acquire TikTok US business after the US President set the deadline to stop Tiktok operation in the USA.

Microsoft provides cloud computing services that help run the retailer’s stores and online shopping. The two companies signed a 5-year partnership in 2018, enabling them to join forces against a shared rival, online shopping giant Amazon.

Walmart said in a statement that a deal with Microsoft and TikTok could help it expand its advertising business and reach more shoppers.

TikTok has gained 100 million US users. But the White House is pushing TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell its US business if it wants to keep operating in the country, citing security risks.

Microsoft has confirmed discussions with TikTok; other tech companies such as Oracle are also reportedly interested in a possible acquisition.

While ByteDance hasn’t disclosed its asking price for TikTok, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that it is seeking roughly USD 30 billion for TikTok’s US operations.

The Journal reported that bidders so far haven’t been willing to meet that price. TikTok didn’t immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.

Over the past year, TikTok has tried to put distance between its app and its Chinese ownership. It installed former top Disney executive Kevin Mayer as its American CEO, but he resigned yesterday after being 90 days in the job.

In a letter to employees, Mayer said that his decision to leave comes after the “political environment has sharply changed.” ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017, then bought Musical.ly, a video service popular with teens in the US and Europe, and combined the two. A twin service, Douyin, is available for Chinese users.

US authorities are concerned that TikTok would turn over user data to Chinese authorities and that it censors content that would upset China.

TikTok denies that it has shared user data with the Chinese government and would not do so if asked, nor censored videos at Chinese authorities” request. It says it”s not a national security threat.

The sale situation has been unusual, with President Donald Trump demanding payment for the US government for its part in orchestrating a deal, a step that experts say is unprecedented.

The president said on August 18 that Oracle was “a great company” that “could handle” buying TikTok. He declined to state a preference between Oracle and Microsoft as buyers. 

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