Walmart joins Microsoft bid for TikTok as CEO of social media app quits

4 months ago

Walmart Inc said it was joining Microsoft in a bid for the U.S. assets of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok's, revealing its plans hours after the company's chief executive said he would step down.

The news that CEO Kevin Mayer, a high-profile former Disney executive, was leaving three months after joining TikTok, broke first on August 27, while the company is in the middle of negotiations to sell U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp or Oracle Corp. Mayer was Walt Disney Co's top streaming executive before becoming chief executive officer of TikTok and chief operating officer of parent ByteDance on June 1.

Later on, Walmart announced its plans. The retailer lauded TikTok's integration of e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets and said that a three-way partnership could bring that integration to the United States. The deal would help Walmart reach customers across virtual and physical sales channels and grow its online marketplace and its advertising business. Walmart shares rose six percent.

"We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of U.S. government regulators," Walmart said in a statement.

TikTok owner ByteDance aims to enter exclusive talks with a bidder in the next 24 to 48 hours and ink a deal by September 15, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. ByteDance declined to comment.

The sale of TikTok is happening, as U.S. President Donald Trump on August 6 issued an executive order banning any U.S. transactions with ByteDance starting in 45 days. A week later, Trump signed another executive order, extending the deal time to 90 days.

TikTok filed a lawsuit on August 24 against the executive order. "We do not take suing the government lightly," TikTok said in a blog post. "However, we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights."

ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming said in a separate letter seen by CGTN that the company was "moving quickly to find resolutions to the issues that we face globally, particularly in the U.S. and India."

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