‘I’m going to put together a group’

Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed Thursday that he’s building a team of investors to potentially buy TikTok after House lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill that would force its China-based parent ByteDance to sell.

Mnuchin expressed support for the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which gives ByteDance six months to divest its stake in the company or face a total ban in the US. As The Post reported, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) faces intense pressure to bring it up for a speedy vote.

“I think the legislation should pass and I think it should be sold,” Mnuchin said during a Thursday appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I understand the technology, it’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok.”

Steven Mnuchin was Treasury Secretary under former President Donald Trump. AP

Mnuchin was a member of former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet when he issued an executive order requiring ByteDance to sell its stake in TikTok or be banned. President Biden later paused that order.

When asked if he had already teamed up with investors, Mnuchin said he was “working on it” and had “spoken to a bunch of people,” but did not reveal any names.

“This should be owned by US businesses,” Mnuchin added. “There’s no way that the Chinese would ever let a US company own something like this in China.”

TikTok has said it will resist any forced sale of the company and has vowed to stage a legal fight to block the legislation if it becomes law. Even if its parent company ByteDance eventually relents and decides to sell, potential buyers would face a steep price tag.

TikTok’s US operations could be worth as much as $40 billion to $50 billion, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence last year.

Mnuchin downplayed concerns that the Chinese government would step in to block a sale – and asserted that the app would need to be “rebuilt in the US” after an acquisition.

TikTok has vowed to fight any forced sale in court. Getty Images

“I think the Chinese will be fine selling it so long as there’s not a technology transfer along the way.”

The ex-Treasury boss also pushed back on the argument that the bill’s 180-day timeframe for a forced sale was too small, stating “a lot can be done in six months.”

Mnuchin joins a short list of known suitors for TikTok. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had approached ByteDance about a potential sale.

Steve Mnuchin declined to say who he has spoken to about a potential TikTok acquisition. FII Institute

As The Post reported, experts see large-cap companies such as Meta, Google and Microsoft as logical bidders, in part because they are among the few firms with the resources to fund a deal. However, any attempt by a Big Tech firm to buy TikTok would surely face opposition from antitrust regulators.

Trump cited concerns that Facebook would become too powerful after he surprised his own party by saying he now opposes a TikTok ban.

“I don’t think this should be controlled by any of the big US tech companies,” Mnuchin added. “Users love it. It shouldn’t be shut down.”

Mnuchin revealed his latest business move just days after his firm Liberty Strategic Capital served as the lead investor in a $1 billion capital raise to bail out struggling New York Community Bancorp. Mnuchin joined the bank’s board of directors as part of the deal.

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