Walmart is partnering with Microsoft to purchase the US arm of TikTok as the pair scramble to hammer out a deal before it is banned across the US.
The US’ largest retailer has formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft which will see the pair make a joint bid for the wildly popular social media platform.
It is understood that the companies are close to penning a deal, which will see the new partnership pay between $20 billion and $30 billion to acquire TikTok’s US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations.
The clock is ticking to for the Chinese video sharing app, which was given 90 days to sell its US arm to an American company by the Trump administration before being banned from the country entirely.
“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 US retailer said.
The ban is due to security concerns relating to a law in China, where its owner ByteDance is based, that allows its government to order tech firms to collect consumer data and send it to them.
This deal would mark a significant step up in Walmart’s battle with Amazon, granting it valuable online user data and helping it build its third-party marketplace and advertising businesses.
TikTok is used by around 11 per cent of US adults at least once a week and has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally as of April.
Earlier this week TikTok’s chief executive Kevin Mayer had quit his role after just three months, citing “the US administration’s action to push for a sell-off of the US business”.
ByteDance’s founder Zhang Yiming has also faced criticism in China for selling the app, but informed staff it was the only way to prevent it being taken down in the US.