Mnuchin putting together US investor group to buy TikTok

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Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is putting together a group of U.S. investors to buy TikTok after the House of Representatives passed legislation that would force its China-based parent company, ByteDance, to sell it to American interests due to national security concerns.

“It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok… because they should be owned by U.S. businesses,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawkbox” on Thursday.

HOUSE PASSES BILL THAT COULD SEE TIKTOK BANNED IN US

Mnuchin said that when he chaired the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) as Treasury secretary during the Trump administration, he “had President Trump sign an order that TikTok had to be sold.” Mnuchin said he still believes TikTok should be sold, and he believes the House’s bill should pass the Senate.

He added, “There is no way the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China.”

TikTok download app store

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CFIUS has been investigating TikTok for years under President Biden, but has not forced the company to be sold in order to continue operating in the U.S.

The bipartisan House bill that passed Wednesday and is now headed to the Senate would block TikTok in the U.S. if ByteDance does not divest from it within 165 days of passage. It would also require it to be bought by a country that is not a U.S. adversary.

Mnuchin, who founded investment fund Liberty Strategic Capital, said he has been in talks with several people regarding the effort to purchase TikTok. He did not name anyone, but said his plan is for multiple investors to be involved in the purchase so there would not be one single entity that controlled the platform.

“The issue is all about the technology,” Mnuchin said. “This needs to be controlled by us.”

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