TikTok's US operations might soon belong to Microsoft and Walmart. The two companies have teamed up to bid on the highly popular short-form video app. The draw for Walmart? It wants to boost its fledgling online ad business and better go after a younger demographic. Before Thursday's announcement, coming on the heels of TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer's resignation, Microsoft had been considered the frontrunner in talks to buy TikTok's business in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—a move spurred by the Trump administration's demand that the US arm be sold by the Chinese company that operates it, per the Guardian. Teaming up with Walmart is nothing new for Microsoft. In 2018, the companies signed a five-year tech deal viewed as a means of taking on Amazon in both the retail and tech sectors, with Walmart using Microsoft's Azure cloud services, per the Verge.
"The way TikTok has integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets," says a Walmart rep, per CNBC. "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." The rep adds the company is "confident" that the partnership "would meet both the expectations of US TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators." Oracle and Netflix have also expressed interest in TikTok, per the Verge. CNBC on Thursday reported a deal, worth a rumored $20 billion to $30 billion, could be announced within hours or days. (Read more TikTok stories.)