TikTok is nearing a deal to sell its U.S. operations and could announce a deal in the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter.
Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s CEO, announced his resignation Thursday after news of the announcement leaked to the Financial Times. Mayer was originally going to announce his decision to step down along with the sale agreement next week, but he pushed up the timing to address the news, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Mayer joined TikTok earlier this year after running Disney’s streaming video operations.
Vanessa Pappas, the head of TikTok’s U.S. business, will run TikTok following Mayer’s departure, the company said in an internal memo to employees.
TikTok hasn’t decided on a buyer and is still discussing bids from Oracle, Microsoft and a third U.S. company, two of the people said. Walmart has been working with SoftBank on a potential acquisition, but because that offer doesn’t include a cloud technology backbone component, it is likely a nonstarter with the U.S. government, two of the people said.
Walmart confirmed its involvement in a potential TikTok deal, saying it would partner with Microsoft.
“The way TikTok has integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets,” a Walmart spokesperson told CNBC. “We believe a potential relationship with TikTok U.S. in partnership with Microsoft could add this key 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. We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators.”
Spokespeople for TikTok and SoftBank declined to comment.
TikTok is likely to sell its U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations for a valuation in the $20 billion to $30 billion range, but a price still hasn’t been decided, the people said.
—CNBC’s Melissa Repko contributed to this report.