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Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Says He’s Getting Together Investor Group To Buy TikTok

Steven Mnuchin, the former treasury secretary and film financier, says that he’s getting an investor group together to try to buy TikTok.

His comments to CNBC follow the House of Representatives’ overwhelming passage of a bill that would force TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell the popular app or face a ban on distribution in the United States.

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“I think it should be sold. I understand the technology. It’s a great business, and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Squawk Box today. He did not indicate which investors would be involved in an effort to buy the app, but he said that “it would be a combination of investors. It would be no one investor that controlled this.”

The bill cleared the House on Wednesday 352-65, drawing rare bipartisan support from leaders and rank and file members of both parties. The legislation now heads to the Senate, but there’s been no indication from Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of timing for when it would be considered.

Mnuchin supports the legislation, even though his former boss, Donald Trump, has indicated that he opposes it. During Trump’s presidency, Mnuchin was a key figure in the administration’s effort to force ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a ban, but his executive order was blocked in the courts.

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

TikTok has lobbied heavily against the bill, and CEO Shou Chew posted a video on Wednesday arguing that the legislation “gives more power to a handful of other social media companies. It will also take billions of dollars out of the pockets of creators and small businesses.” “It will take away your TikTok,” he said.

The app has about 170 million users in the U.S., according to TikTok.

Chew also suggested that TikTok would take legal action, while the Chinese government has been resistant to a sale.

But supporters of the bill argue that TikTok poses a national security risk, pointing to a law in China that they say would require that TikTok parent ByteDance share user data with the Communist government. Others also argued that TikTok could be used as a propaganda tool during the presidential election.

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