Walmart continues to express an interest in TikTok.
The big-box chain has announced that it still plans to invest in the Chinese video-sharing app after computer software maker Oracle — backed by investment firms Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic — confirmed that it has emerged as the lead bidder in a deal that was structured as a partnership instead of a sale.
“Walmart continues to have an interest in a TikTok investment and continues discussions with [TikTok owner] ByteDance leadership and other interested parties,” the retailer wrote in a statement. “We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns.”
Beijing-based ByteDance had been in talks to divest TikTok’s U.S. arm following President Donald Trump’s claims that its Chinese ownership makes it a security risk. A couple weeks ago, Walmart partnered with Microsoft, which was the frontrunner at the time in talks to snap up the app. (According to multiple reports, an acquisition of TikTok’s operations in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand could be worth up to $50 billion.) Microsoft, however, announced over the weekend that it was informed by ByteDance that it would not become the owner of TikTok’s U.S. business.
According to Walmart, an investment in TikTok would not only broaden its advertising and marketing capabilities, but also expand its online marketplace as the Bentonville, Ark.-based company continues to accelerate its competition against rival Amazon. In a statement to FN in late August, Walmart said that a relationship with the app could “provide an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses.”
What’s more, TikTok interim CEO Vanessa Pappas previously said that an agreement between Walmart and the app could bode well for both parties. “For us, we’ve been really focused recently on rolling out some e-commerce features. We’ve been providing that for our creator community as another way for them to earn a livelihood,” she said in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Aug. 28. “I think there’s a lot of different synergies there.”
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