AP

Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he’s putting together investor group to buy TikTok

Mar 14, 2024, 9:00 AM | Updated: 4:02 pm

FILE - Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks with reporters outside the White House, March...

FILE - Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin speaks with reporters outside the White House, March 29, 2020, in Washington. Mnuchin says he's going to put together an investor group to buy TikTok, a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban the popular video app in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn't sell its stake.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’s going to put together an investor group to buy TikTok, a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban the popular video app in the U.S. if its China-based owner doesn’t sell its stake.

TikTok, which has more than 170 million American users, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

Speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Mnuchin said Thursday that he believes TikTok should be sold.

“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,” said Mnuchin.

Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury secretary under President Donald Trump, didn’t provide details on who else may be included in the investor group he plans on forming or TikTok’s possible valuation.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Big tech companies could afford to buy TikTok but would likely face intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators in both the U.S. and China. Then again, if the bill actually becomes law and survives First Amendment court challenges, it could make TikTok cheaper to buy.

The House bill, passed by a vote of 352-65, now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are unclear. House lawmakers had acted on concerns that TikTok’s current ownership structure is a national security threat.

Lawmakers in the Senate have indicated that the measure will undergo a thorough review. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said that he’ll have to consult with relevant committee chairs to determine the bill’s path.

President Joe Biden has said if Congress passes the measure, he will sign it.

TikTok has long denied that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government. The company has said it has never shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities and won’t do so if it is asked. To date, the U.S. government also has not provided evidence that shows TikTok shared such information with Chinese authorities.

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Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he’s putting together investor group to buy TikTok