Walmart partners with Microsoft for TikTok bid

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FILE PHOTO: China and U.S. flags are seen near a TikTok logo in this illustration picture taken July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo

Walmart Inc is partnering with Microsoft Corp in the software maker’s bid for Bytedance-owned TikTok, the world’s largest retailer said on Thursday.

ByteDance has been in talks to sell TikTok’s North American, Australian and New Zealand operations which could be worth $25 billion to $30 billion to companies including Microsoft and Oracle, people with knowledge of the matter have told Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that China’s ByteDance, which owns TikTok globally, sell its U.S. operations, citing potential national security risk due to the vast amount of private data the app is compiling on U.S. consumers.

Shoppers wearing masks enter a Walmart, where a deadly shooting that killed 23 people took place last year, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., August 2, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Ratje

“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,” the retailer said in a statement.

The two companies are two years into a five-year partnership as part of the retailer’s push for wider use of cloud and artificial intelligence.

FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft sign is shown on top of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S., Oct. 19,2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Walmart said TikTok’s integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets “is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets.”

The retailer’s shares were up about 4.4% on the news.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru and Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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