Asda owner in TikTok bid

Asda’s US owner has revealed it will team up with Microsoft to bid for the American operations of Chinese video sharing app, TikTok.

The social media company, which has seen exponential growth through lockdown, having been downloaded 315m times in the first quarter of 2020, equating to more downloads than Facebook. However the app’s Chinese owners, ByteDance, were recently given 90 days to sell its US operations to an American business or face a nationwide ban, after President Donald Trump alleged it was sharing user data with the Chinese Government, a statement it denies.

It has now been confirmed that Walmart and Microsoft are joining forces in a bid for the app. This bid it appears, would see Walmart utilise its strong digital retail background to bring new e-commerce and advertising functionality – something that already exists in the TikTok markets – to the app, enabling US giant to better target customers.

With TikTok’s appeal high amongst the under-25 market , although it has also seen growth among an older audience through lockdown, this deal would provide a fantastic opportunity for Asda’s owners to target the Gen-Z market which some research reports has a spending power of $143bn in the US alone.

A spokesperson for Walmart said, “We believe a potential relationship with TikTok U.S. in partnership with Microsoft could add this key [ecommerce and advertising] 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.”

Adding that, “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.”

It’s being predicted that TikTok’s US operations could sell for as much as $50bn if a deal is reached by the 12 November deadline, however a $35-$40bn figure is a more likely figure Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities told the New York Times.