Former Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’s putting together group to buy TikTok

Former Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that he’s putting together an investor group to possibly buy TikTok.

A bill passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday that would force the Chinese company owning the social media app, ByteDance, to either sell the company or face a US ban.

“I think the legislation should pass and I think it should be sold,” Mr Mnuchin said on CNBC on Thursday morning. “It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.”

If the legislation passes the Senate, the Biden administration has indicated that the president would sign it. Both Republicans and Democrats have noted the app’s reach and China’s possible ability to influence its users – TikTok estimates that it has about 170 million account holders in the US. Other tech investors have argued that TikTok has a negative influence.

Mr Mnuchin, who didn’t specify who the other investors would be, heads Liberty Strategic Capital, which has connections to ByteDance – SoftBank Vision Fund invested in the company in 2018 and is a limited partner in Liberty, CNBC noted.

“This should be owned by US businesses. There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a US company own something like this in China,” Mr Mnuchin told the broadcaster.

It’s not clear if Beijing would let ByteDance sell TikTok, which has lobbied aggressively against the bill, to a US buyer.

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