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Former US treasury secretary says preparing buyout of TikTok

Former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin said he is arranging a team of investors to purchase Chinese social media giant TikTok from its owner ByteDance.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would force TikTok to divest from its parent company or face a nationwide ban.

Mnuchin said he strongly supported the bill, which must now go to the Senate for approval.

U.S. President Joe Biden supports the bill and has vowed to sign it if passed.

“I think the legislation should pass and I think (TikTok) should be sold,” Mnuchin told CNBC.

Mnuchin, who served for four years as former president Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, said that TikTok was “a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy” the embattled app.

“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,” Mnuchin said.

Earlier on Thursday a Chinese commerce ministry official said the U.S. should “stop unjustly suppressing foreign companies” and take “all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”

Another official in Beijing said the U.S. was “following the logic of a bandit” with the law.

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