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Walmart Joins Microsoft’s Push to Acquire TikTok’s US Assets

Earlier on Thursday, TheWrap reported Oracle had taken the lead position in a deal worth at least $20 billion

Walmart has teamed up with Microsoft on its push to acquire TikTok’s operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to multiple reports on Thursday morning. CNBC was the first outlet to report the news.

The retail juggernaut didn’t offer many details on how it would integrate with TikTok, but its interest comes as TikTok appears to be racing towards a deal in the near future. Earlier on Thursday morning, TheWrap reported Oracle has taken the lead position to acquire TikTok’s assets in a deal worth more than $20 billion.

Walmart did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. The company told CNBC that it would help evolve TikTok’s e-commerce and advertising business if a deal was struck, adding it would be a “clear benefit” to creators and users.

“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,” Walmart told CNBC.  “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.”

The news comes about 12 hours after Kevin Mayer, the former Disney executive, stepped down as TikTok’s CEO. TikTok’s push to close a deal with a U.S. firm has accelerated after President Donald Trump signed an executive order this month giving Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, 90 days to offload its Western assets; the president pointed to “credible evidence” the app poses a national security threat.

Despite TikTok’s popularity, critics have grown increasingly concerned the app doubles as a data collection tool for China’s communist government. TikTok has denied ever sharing user data with Chinese authorities. But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson recently pointed out TikTok’s privacy policy explicitly says it “may share” user information “with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” which, based on how companies operate in China, means data can be sent to government authorities.

“It is important to note, this would be the case even if the privacy policy were not so honest. All Chinese Internet companies are compelled by the country’s National Intelligence Law to turn over any and all data that the government demands, and that power is not limited by China’s borders,” Thompson explained further. “Moreover, this requisition of data is not subject to warrants or courts, as is the case with U.S. government requests for data from Facebook or any other entity.”