After weeks of speculation, reports surfaced Thursday that a U.S. buyer for ByteDance's TikTok app could be announced within a matter of days. At the same time, an unforeseen name entered the conversation: Walmart.

There would be another curious wrinkle to the possible sale: the retail giant would be partnering with Microsoft, the leading suitor for the blockbuster video-sharing app.

The partnership between the two corporate behemoths — one a big-box shopping chain, the other a pioneering tech giant — makes for an odd pairing. Though it may seem premature to discern what Microsoft gets out of such a deal, there have been whispers that Walmart may need Microsoft because U.S. regulators require a cloud-computing infrastructure in order to bid on TikTok.

Whatever has compelled the two companies to partner, the drive for both to pursue an acquisition is far from surprising when one considers a simple fact: TikTok offers something both companies want.

Microsoft has major, longstanding footholds in markets like computer hardware, software, and video games, but the company lags in the realm of online video, where the likes of YouTube and Netflix reign supreme.

TikTok has over one billion users worldwide, so gaining access to even a fraction of its operations would give Microsoft an immediate presence in that competitive and lucrative field.

As for Walmart, a tech acquisition for a physical retailer seems like a questionable investment, especially from a company that recently offloaded the Vudu digital video platform for not fitting its business model.

However, the pursuit makes more sense, as some have highlighted, when considering the e-commerce impact of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. In China, users are able to buy products directly after viewing advertisements for them and can also view live streams from high-profile creators talking about certain products.

With this business model in mind, TikTok could give Walmart a massive new advertising platform and a way to drive traffic to its online storefronts. These benefits would be particularly useful for the company as it makes moves to compete with the online dominance of Amazon.

“Walmart would be clearly interested in owning TikTok for its potential e-commerce and advertising capabilities to further boost its consumer presence as it further battles Amazon (which cannot touch TikTok given antitrust issues) in the field,” Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, explained to Yahoo Finance.

Walmart is also reportedly looking for a way to make use of an unusually large amount of cash, as chief financial officer Brett Riggs stated during a recent earnings call that the company had around $17 billion on hand.

ByteDance is reportedly looking to make a deal for $20-30 billion for TikTok. It is unclear how this proposed sale amount would be split between Microsoft and Walmart.

Walmart has since July 20 required everyone in its stores to wear masks Walmart has since July 20 required everyone in its stores to wear masks Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck