Former treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he’s trying to organize a group of investors to buy TikTok in the event that Congress is successful in passing legislation that would force the app’s Chinese parent company to divest.

On Wednesday, the House voted to pass a bill that would effectively force ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, to sell the video-sharing platform or face a ban in U.S. app stores. The legislation was motivated by national-security concerns around China’s ability to surveil approximately 170 million American users of TikTok. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces a difficult path ahead, though President Joe Biden said he would sign it into law.

The 12-page bill, introduced by House Select Committee on the CCP chairman Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), says that TikTok must be sold within six months to a buyer that the federal government approves so that ByteDance no longer owns or controls the app.

Mnuchin, who served under the Trump administration, revealed he is looking into putting together a group of potential buyers.

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

He did not name any investors or indicate the potential valuation.

“This should be owned by U.S. businesses. There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China,” Mnuchin said in support of the bill.

On the other hand, former president Donald Trump has recently come out against the TikTok-divestment bill, saying Facebook, which he called “an enemy of the people,” would take TikTok’s place in the market if the bill becomes law. In 2020, when he was still in office, Trump intended to ban the app in the U.S. He has since changed on that position after a meeting with billionaire investor Jeff Yass, who holds a 15 percent stake in ByteDance.

“There’s a lot of good and there’s a lot of bad with TikTok, but the thing I don’t like is that without TikTok, you’re going to make Facebook bigger, and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people, along with a lot of the media,” Trump said Monday during a CNBC interview. He denied speaking with Yass about TikTok.

The social-media app and the legislation surrounding it are also drawing the attention of other investors. Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary, known for his television appearance on Shark Tank, offered to purchase TikTok earlier this week and transform it into a “new American company.”

“If this order goes through, it’s got to be sold. I’m going to put up my hand and say I’ll buy it, and I’ll tell you why,” O’Leary told Fox News on Monday. “What I’m proposing is purchasing these assets into a new American company. I’ll guarantee the servers are on American soil. I’ll guarantee you will close the Chinese back doors in the code. I’ll guarantee it becomes safe for the users, the parents, small business and large business.”

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Steven Mnuchin Organizing Investor Group to Buy TikTok as Congress Considers Bill to Force Sale

‘This should be owned by U.S. businesses. There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own ... READ MORE


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