Earlier this week, Walmart lost out in its effort to be part of an acquisition of Chinese app TikTok's US operations, when the company decided instead to make a deal with Oracle, which now is being positioned as a "partnership" rather than an outright sale.
Walmart was part of a competing bid from Microsoft, and was clearly interested in using TikTok as a way to access a younger customer base with an online marketplace.
But, according to numerous published reports, there remain a lot of moving pieces, and Walmart remains engaged.
President Trump - who precipitated the scenario when he demanded that TikTok's US operations be sold because of national security concerns about data usage - has not signed off on a "partnership."
"I’m not prepared to sign off on anything. I have to see the deal," he said yesterday. (He also conceded that the US government could not legally get a cut of the deal, as he had proposed.)
Walmart, the company said in a statement, "continues to have an interest in a TikTok investment … We know that any approved deal must satisfy all regulatory and national security concerns."
- KC's View:
This was predictable … I can't see any reason off the top of my head why Walmart and Oracle could not make a deal. They have different and non-competing interests in TikTok, best I can tell, and so there ought to be ways to work together.
And Walmart is motivated - a TikTok relationship could give it a powerful weapon in its battle against Amazon.
I said it on Monday, and I'll say it again. I may be wrong about this - I know very little about this subject - but this somehow doesn't feel like a done deal to me.