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Mnuchin Eyes TikTok Acquisition and Technology Rebuild Amid New U.S. Regulations

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed ongoing interest in acquiring TikTok during an interview with Bloomberg Television on Tuesday. He mentioned discussions with various tech firms about the possibility of recreating the app's technology, acknowledging that the app's algorithms could be reconstructed.


Mnuchin outlined a strategy for the acquisition, aiming to redevelop TikTok's technology under American leadership, ensuring it is independent from ByteDance and enhancing its security.


This initiative follows a recent legislation signed by President Biden, mandating ByteDance to divest TikTok within a year or face exclusion from U.S. networks and app stores. Although ByteDance might be open to selling TikTok, the Chinese government has indicated it will not approve the export of the app's algorithm.


Mnuchin also highlighted potential legal challenges that could delay the acquisition and technology rebuild, noting these could extend the timeline and complicate efforts. He also voiced concerns about the feasible timeline for rebuilding the technology, especially if litigation consumes significant time.


Simultaneously, TikTok and ByteDance have initiated legal action to contest the new law, claiming it infringes on First Amendment rights and arguing that a divestiture under current conditions is not feasible, which could shut down the app in the U.S.


Mnuchin suggested that rather than a full purchase, a better strategy might involve investment to reduce Chinese ownership of TikTok, which could keep existing foreign investors while ensuring compliance with U.S. regulations.

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