White House Supposedly Blocked Walmart From Buying Tiktok Because It Would Prove Its Rationale For Forcing A Deal Was Bullshit
from the look-at-that dept
Among the rumors of who might take over TikTok (which the Trump administration is forcing ByteDance to sell) was the surprise entrant of Walmart. While we’re still waiting for the official decision, a report last week noted that the White House stepped in to tell Walmart that couldn’t happen if Walmart was to be the lead buyer:
The deal structure would have had Walmart as the lead buyer, with SoftBank and Alphabet acquiring minority stakes. One or two other minority holders held talks to join the consortium, two of the people said.
Walmart wanted to be the exclusive e-commerce and payments provider for TikTok and have access to user data to enhance those capabilities, one of the people said. But the people said the U.S. government wanted the lead buyer of TikTok to be a technology company because that would better fit with its national-security rationale for forcing Chinese owner ByteDance to divest TikTok?s U.S. operations.
This is why the newer rumor is that Microsoft would be the lead, in combination with Walmart. There’s no way the DOJ would allow Google to be the lead buyer for TikTok. But here we have it: proof that the White House knows its own rationale for forcing the sale of TikTok is total and complete bullshit, and it’s worried that one potential buyer might underline that fact.
Of course, this raises a shit ton of questions. Going back to the original issue, why is the White House even forcing this sale in the first place? The fact that it’s now effectively admitting that the “national security” rationale was bogus by telling Walmart it can’t be the lead is really revealing. Not that anyone seems willing to say or do anything about this. But now it does seem abundantly clear that even the White House knows that its rationale for forcing a deal is a fraud. Then of course, why is the White House even involved in the deal at this stage, telling Walmart what it can or can’t do? None of this makes any sense, and all of it is not how any of this is supposed to work.
But, of course, the anti-TikTok sentiment is so strong among many that no one’s going to point out that even the White House doesn’t seem to believe its own reason for forcing the deal.