With the deadline for TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell the social media app to a US business quickly approaching on September 15, there have been some major developments related to a potential deal.
First off, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who joined the company just over three months ago, has made the decision to step down. In a letter to the company’s employees obtained by The Financial Times, Mayer explained his reason for stepping down, saying:
“I understand that the role that I signed up for — including running TikTok globally — will look very different as a result of the US administration’s action to push for a sell off of the US business.”
As for potential bidders interested in acquiring TikTok, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Oracle and now Walmart have held discussions with the company about a deal. As reported by The Wrap, Oracle also recently announced that it is close to reaching a deal with the White House which would see it hand over $10bn in cash and $10bn in stock for the social media company with 50 percent of TikTok’s annual profit going back to ByteDance.
Microsoft and Walmart join forces
Although Oracle may be close to reaching a deal with the White House, the enterprise software company may now be at a disadvantage as Walmart recently announced that it is teaming up with Microsoft in a bid for TikTok. As of now though, it is still unclear as to how Microsoft and Walmart would split ownership of TikTok as well as which company would be the majority owner.
The retail giant has been working on a new membership program called Walmart+ in an effort to better compete against Amazon in the e-commerce space. The company believes that the social media app’s integration of e-commerce and advertising could really benefit creators as well as users in the markets where it operates.
In a statement, Walmart provided more details on why it has decided to partner with Microsoft in a bid for TikTok, saying:
“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.”
If Microsoft and Walmart do win the bid for TikTok, the deal would provide both companies with access to hundreds of millions of consumers, many of them of a younger demographic, who they could sell their products to or use as an audience for online advertising.