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Former US Treasury Chief Mnuchin Looking to Buy TikTok

FILE - Then-treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 2, 2020.
FILE - Then-treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 2, 2020.

Former U.S. treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he is going to put together an investor group to try to buy TikTok, a day after the House of Representatives voted to ban the popular video app in the U.S., if its China-based owner doesn’t agree to sell it.

Mnuchin, who served in former president Donald Trump’s Cabinet, told CNBC that TikTok, with more than 170 million U.S. users, "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."

US Senate Considers Bill That Could Ban TikTok in United States
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Mnuchin offered no details on who else might be included in an investor group or TikTok’s possible valuation. TikTok is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese technology firm ByteDance Ltd.

The House, acting on concerns that TikTok’s current ownership and usage in the U.S. poses a national security threat to the U.S., voted 352-65 to demand the sale. The fate of the legislation in the Senate is uncertain.

Senate lawmakers said they would thoroughly review the House-approved measure. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer 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 denied that it can 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. The U.S. government also has not provided evidence that shows TikTok shared any such information with Chinese authorities.

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