Pro-Trump Investors Move to Buy TikTok

A group of pro-Trump American investors is putting together a plan to buy the social media app TikTok from its Chinese Communist Party-linked parent company ByteDance.

President Donald Trump’s former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is spearheading the effort.

The move comes at the same time Congress is considering a new law that would require the social media giant to sever its ties with China’s communist government.

According to CNBC, Mnuchin is in the process of forming an investor group to approach ByteDance.

The investors are planning to put together an offer that would allow the popular video-streaming app to remain available in the U.S.

The cost of buying the company would likely land in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Pitchbook currently values the company at $220 billion.

Speaking about legislation passed by the U.S. House to restrict TikTok’s Chinese ownership, Mnuchin said he favors the move.

He added lawmakers have an obligation to prevent TikTok from being abused by China’s government.

Concerns have been mounting for some time that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses the app to mine and monitor Americans’ personal data.

“I think the legislation should pass and I think it should be sold,” Mnuchin said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Thursday.

“It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.”

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The bill is receiving widespread bipartisan support and does not fall neatly along the right-left schism.

Meanwhile, Democrat President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.

The Senate is now tasked with considering the present bill or amending it and sending it back to the House for further review.

“This should be owned by U.S. businesses,” Mnuchin said.

“There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a U.S. company own something like this in China.”

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By its own estimates, TikTok counts as many as 170 million users.

This figure provides China with a tremendous ability to influence the viewing habits of Americans, especially young voters.

Chinese authorities have been cool to the idea of a forced sale, saying it’s not on the table.

Instead, they accuse U.S. lawmakers of using “robber’s logic,” according to China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

The reasoning is shared with other notable tech inventors and investors including Peter Thiel, Vinod Khosla, and Keith Rabois.

Mnuchin served as Treasury Secretary for most of Trump’s first term.

During this time, the Trump administration took a mostly antagonistic approach toward TikTok and teased its own plans to crack down on the social media company.

However, after speaking with a number of supporters, including some who have a stake in TikTok’s success, President Trump has come out against the new legislation.

Trump is warning that cracking down on TikTok will only benefit Mark Zuckerberg and his company Meta.

Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, views TikTok as its biggest competitive threat.

According to Trump, “Facebook is the enemy of the people.”

However, Trump’s position on the issue further complicates GOP efforts to strip TikTok of its overseas owners.

READ MORE – Trump Warns ‘Facebook Is the Enemy of the People’ after House Bans TikTok

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