Walmart said late Sunday (Sept. 13) in a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission the retail and technology giant remains interested in TikTok, although a partnership offer with Microsoft is off the table.
“Walmart continues to have an interest in a TikTok investment and continues discussions with ByteDance leadership and other interested parties. We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns,” the company noted in its statement.
Microsoft confirmed it was out of the deal in a statement on its website.
“ByteDance let us know today they would not be selling TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft. We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users while protecting national security interests,” according to the Microsoft note.
The statements came on the heels of news reports TikTok had agreed to a deal with Oracle leaving Microsoft and Walmart out of the loop. No official deal has been reported or confirmed. The bone of contention around ByteDance selling to other technology companies is that the deal for TikTok will not include any of the video sharing platform’s source code information. This seems to indicate any deal with Walmart would likely be a partnership, perhaps with Oracle, with an investment in TikTok instead of out an outright acquisition.
ByteDance has declined to comment to the media about any of the discussions or potential deals in the work.
The clock is ticking for a deal to get done ahead of a Sept. 15 deadline imposed by President Donald Trump, whose administration vowed to ban the site on Sept. 20 unless it is sold to a U.S. company, citing national security reasons for the edict. TikTok filed a lawsuit against Trump’s executive order.
“We do not take suing the government lightly,” TikTok said in a recent blog post. “However, we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights.”
Other challenges remain with a deal getting done by the Tuesday deadline as ByteDance may have to obtain a license from the Chinese government to proceed with a sale to an American company following some August revisions and restrictions imposed by the foreign government regarding technology trades.
Analysts have praised Walmart’s interest in TikTok, saying it would be accretive to the retail giant’s efforts to grow it’s advertising revenue and its marketing efforts. They do not count Walmart out of the running, noting the company has a rich history of working out deals that involve foreign ownership such as the JD.com partnership in China and the Flipkart deal in India.