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There's more interest from groups wanting to buy TikTok, but China may not let that happen

TikTok logo with Ai in background

After Wednesday's vote by the US House of Representatives to approve a bill that could lead to the ban of TikTok in the US, former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he's trying to buy the social network from its China-owned parent company ByteDance.

The bill, if it becomes law, will require TikTok's parent company ByteDance to sell off its interest in the company within 165 days. If that did not happen, TikTok could be banned from US app stores.

Mnuchin, who was the secretary of the US Treasury during the entire Trump administration from 2017 to 2021, and is currently the head of Liberty Strategic Capital, told CNBC that he supports the bill and that TikTok should be sold. He added that he's currently trying to get a group of partners together to purchase TikTok.

The lawmakers who voted for the bill believe that TikTok could send the data it has collected to the Chinese government. On this issue, Mnuchin stated:

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.

Unconfirmed rumors claim that former Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is reportedly thinking about buying TikTok, again in collaboration with a group of financial partners.

The bill now goes to the US Senate for its approval. Some members of that legislative body have already expressed concerns with this bill about First Amendment violations. TikTok has also repeatedly stated it would not sell any data to the Chinese government.

Even if the bill does get approved into law, there's another issue. CNBC reports that many financial analysts believe the Chinese government would not approve TikTok being sold to a US company. One of them is Paul Triolo, an associate partner at consulting firm Albright Stonebridge. He told CNBC:

Any kind of divestiture and then merger with another company or acquisition would have to be approved by the Chinese government, which would probably reject that and is probably advising ByteDance that it would reject that.

If that happens, the US government might try to ban TikTok, but it would almost certainly face legal action that could drag this situation even more.

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