What would Walmart do with TikTok if its bid with Microsoft succeeds?
Walmart really wants a piece of TikTok and the 100 million Americans who use the short-form video app.
The retailer announced yesterday that it would join Microsoft in its bid to acquire TikTok’s business in the U.S. Microsoft is also bidding to buy TikTok’s Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations.
Walmart had previously been part of a group with Google parent Alphabet and SoftBank that was also interested in acquiring TikTok but abandoned its effort. Joined with Microsoft, the two now appear to be competing with Oracle to determine who has the winning bid.
The retailer issued a statement yesterday regarding its interest in acquiring TikTok.
“The way TikTok has integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets. We believe a potential relationship with TikTok U.S. 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 U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of U.S. government regulators.”
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is considering bids for the app, which has been downloaded over two billion times since its launch, after coming under public pressure from President Donald Trump and his allies in recent months.
Mr. Trump has sought to stoke national security fears that the app company is working in concert with the Chinese government to undermine the U.S. by turning over private information it collects on Americans. He asserts that the Chinese can use the data to track users’ movements, blackmail them and steal corporate and governmental intellectual property. President Trump signed an Executive Order on August 6 seeking to effectively ban TikTok in the U.S., citing national security as the primary factor in his decision.
Earlier this week, TikTok filed a suit against the U.S. government charging that Mr. Trump and his administration have ignored due process in its dealing with the company. It also claims that the government has further ignored “our extensive efforts to address its concerns, which we conducted fully and in good faith even as we disagreed with the concerns themselves.”
In its suit, TikTok points to its 100 million American users, more than 1,500 employees in the U.S. and leading American brands that use the platform daily as having a stake in the process. ByteDance also described plans to add 10,000 jobs in eight states.
- Walmart Statement Regarding Discussions With Microsoft About TikTok – Walmart
- Executive Order on Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok – The White House
- Why we are suing the Administration – TikTok
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What would acquiring TikTok with Microsoft mean for Walmart’s U.S. business? How actively would you expect Walmart to be engaged in TikTok and what potential challenges do you see in running a major social platform?