Former US Finance Minister Begins Fundraising for TikTok Purchase

The former US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is gathering an investor group to purchase TikTok from its Chinese parent company ByteDance. This move comes as the US House of Representatives passes a bill that could force the platform into divestment, posing a significant threat to its continued operations in the United States.

“I think the law should be passed, and I think it [TikTok] should be sold. It is a great business, and I am putting together a group to buy TikTok,” said Mnuchin, who currently heads Liberty Strategic Capital, in an interview with CNBC. Both Liberty Strategic and SoftBank Vision, which invested in ByteDance in 2018, share a mutual partnership. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its prospects are uncertain. However, the US president has vowed to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk.

It remains unclear whether Chinese authorities will permit ByteDance to sell TikTok to an American buyer. The platform’s administration staunchly opposes such a move and plans to contend it. In response to the initiative by US lawmakers, the Chinese foreign minister termed it “a robber’s logic.” ByteDance was valued at $220 billion during its latest funding round in 2023. The price for the platform’s American subsidiary is likely to be less. According to legislators, TikTok’s recommendation algorithm — developed in China — is its most valuable and unnerving asset, as its absence would make the sale less attractive to potential buyers. Mnuchin did not specify TikTok’s possible value or who the investors might be for the deal. Earlier, prominent figures such as the ex-CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, and OpenAI chief Sam Altman, showed interest in acquiring TikTok.

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