SAN FRANCISCO • The race to buy TikTok’s US operations has entered its final stages, with two groups submitting bids for the Chinese video app, said three people involved in the deal talks.
One of the bids was from Microsoft and Walmart, which have teamed up, and the other was from Oracle and could include a coalition of investors, they said.
TikTok’s owner, Chinese Internet company ByteDance, will most likely make a decision on the competing bids in the coming days, they said.
A deal with Microsoft and Walmart could draw on Walmart’s digital sales background to turn TikTok into a kind of e-commerce app for both creators and users, people involved in the talks said.
A deal with Oracle, the enterprise software company, would be more of a data play. Oracle could use TikTok’s data about social interactions to benefit its cloud, data and advertising businesses, the people said.
In a statement, Walmart confirmed it was participating in the discussions and said: “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.”
White House officials, who have become increasingly tough on China, have said TikTok poses a national security threat because it could provide data about US users to Beijing. This month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order mandating that TikTok sell its US operations by mid-September or cease transactions within the country.
While TikTok has filed a lawsuit challenging the order, it is also preparing for the possibility that it will have to shut down if it has not reached a deal with an acquirer by the middle of next month, sources said.
Prices for a potential deal have ranged from US$20 billion (S$27.2 billion) to US$50 billion, people with knowledge of the talks have said.