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Walmart joins race for TikTok app as deadline looms

Grocery and hypermarket giant Walmart Inc is the latest company to join the race to buy TikTok in the US.
Grocery and hypermarket giant Walmart Inc is the latest company to join the race to buy TikTok in the US.

Walmart Inc says it is joining Microsoft in a bid for social media company TikTok’s US assets, revealing its plans hours after the video company’s chief executive said he would step down.

CEO Kevin Mayer, a high-profile former Disney executive, is leaving three months after joining TikTok, in the middle of negotiations to sell the Chinese-owned short-form video app’s US operations to Microsoft Corp or Oracle Corp.

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

The sale of TikTok is happening as the company is under fire from the administration of US President Donald Trump as a potential national security risk due to the vast amount of private data the app is compiling on US consumers.

The Trump administration has demanded that China’s ByteDance, which owns TikTok globally, sell its US operations.

Earlier this week, TikTok also sued over an executive order effectively banning it in the US.

Retailer Walmart 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 US.

The deal would help Walmart reach customers across virtual and physical sales channels and grow its online marketplace and its advertising business.

Shares of Walmart rose 6.0 per cent.

“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,” Walmart said in a statement.

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