Walmart has announced that it has formed an unlikely partnership with Microsoft in the latter’s bid to secure part of TikTok’s operations, as the popular short-form video app looks to avoid being banned in the US.
Microsoft has been favourite to strike a deal with TikTok owner ByteDance for some time – and confirmed its discussions with the Chinese company at the beginning of this month. At the time, it revealed that it would be looking to capture TikTok’s business in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
It’s unclear when Walmart became involved in the deal, but the company released a statement stating: “The way TikTok has integrated eCommerce 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.”
Perhaps as surprising as the Walmart-Microsoft partnership is that Microsoft wasn’t the first company that the retail giant linked up with aiming to purchase TikTok’s operations.
According to CNBC, Walmart was part of a consortium alongside SoftBank and Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
This deal would have seen Walmart being the lead buyer, with SoftBank and Alphabet acquiring minority stakes. However, the US government’s insistence on TikTok’s lead buyer being a technology company meant these plans had to be laid to rest.