back to article Former US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin thinking about buying TikTok

On the heels of the US House of Representatives passing a TikTok ban law, former US Treasury secretary and private equity mogul Steve Mnuchin is apparently thinking about buying the platform. Speaking to CNBC's pre-market team at Squawk Box, Mnuchin said he hoped the TikTok ban would pass in the Senate, forcing a sale of the …

  1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Why not?

    He's not in China's pocket. Oh, wait...

    FILMS FINANCED BY STEVEN MNUCHIN WERE TAILORED TO APPEAL TO CHINA

    https://theintercept.com/2020/09/22/films-steve-mnuchin-china-hollywood-censorship/

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go on... buy it

    And lose all your money as the Gen-Z users see that you are tied to the 'Orange Jesus' whoor wants to become a dictator on 20th Jan 2025.

  3. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    nothing's shocking

    Wouldn't surprise me if russia or the saudis had a hand in it as well. When is the world going to learn? Get the flip off the internet. Your children are being used as pawns in an online war. Frumpy and his cronies are traitors.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: nothing's shocking

      Wouldn't surprise me if russia or the saudis had a hand in it as well. When is the world going to learn?

      Err.. No. Well, other than perhaps becoming targets. TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale. Apparently on 'national security' grounds because China can ask Chinese companies to divulge data. The US can of course ask US companies exactly the same thing under national security letters. If this theft goes through though, there'll be scope for picking other cherries. So force the sale of Telegram to a US investor. Or the big one, Twitter/X.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

        Very good. Trump Towers and Mar-a-Lardo will be next when old Trumpo can't pony up the approx $500M for the NYC fraud case.

        When will Elon call it quits with Twatter? He's in the hole for a shed load of money and some of the notes are coming due soon.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

          Very good. Trump Towers and Mar-a-Lardo will be next when old Trumpo can't pony up the approx $500M for the NYC fraud case.

          Despite being one of the largest Florida plats, Mar-a-Largo at 17 acres, with a 62,500 sq ft residence on it is apparently only worth around $18m. Which gets somewhat amusing because if it's flogged off at auction to pay the $500m fine, it might reveal a more accurate valuation and there was no fraud. Well, there was no real fraud anyway given nobody lost any money.

          When will Elon call it quits with Twatter?

          Who cares? But if Democrats can't engineer a default, then perhaps they can use this legislation to force divestment instead. If it ever passes, it'll be interesting to see how valuations are decided, or just any practicalities. So TikTok is banned from offfering services in the US, will have to hand over source code etc and somehow Munchkin's entity is going to be able to run a stand-alone US TikTok that will still integrate with the RoW version.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

            "Despite being one of the largest Florida plats, Mar-a-Largo at 17 acres, with a 62,500 sq ft residence on it is apparently only worth around $18m. Which gets somewhat amusing because if it's flogged off at auction to pay the $500m fine, it might reveal a more accurate valuation and there was no fraud. Well, there was no real fraud anyway given nobody lost any money."

            The court ruling explains why the ruling was the way it was. Have you read it?

          2. Tom 38

            Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

            Despite being one of the largest Florida plats, Mar-a-Largo at 17 acres, with a 62,500 sq ft residence on it is apparently only worth around $18m. Which gets somewhat amusing because if it's flogged off at auction to pay the $500m fine, it might reveal a more accurate valuation and there was no fraud. Well, there was no real fraud anyway given nobody lost any money.

            Its value is limited because of its designation solely as a members club limits its potential revenue, and hence value. If it was a private residence, it would be worth a lot more, but its not a private residence so that Diaper Don can avoid paying taxes on it.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

              Its value is limited because of its designation solely as a members club limits its potential revenue, and hence value. If it was a private residence, it would be worth a lot more, but its not a private residence so that Diaper Don can avoid paying taxes on it.

              That seems negotiable, after all it started out as a private residence for Post. Then it got donated to government, who took one look at the running costs, went hell no! and handed it back. Only challenge seems to be it being a NHL, and that seems negotiable. So run it as a club generating more than the accepted NY tax valuation, breaking it up into seperate plats, building condos on it or whatever.

              And yes, I read the court rulling and so have actual lawyers. Very few who seem to understand how the Judge came up with that amount for a fine in a victimless crime. Of course for the party that supposedly represents 'justice', the amount is a large chunk of Trump's empire, and has to be put into escrow before Trump can appeal. The judge was a loyal Democrat and as the judge is retiring soon, his work there is done.

              1. Jim Mitchell

                Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

                We punish lots of "victimless" actions. From speeding to attempted murder.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

                  We punish lots of "victimless" actions. From speeding to attempted murder.

                  Rarely quite on this scale, and even more rarely for BAU stuff. So go look at NYC real estate. Realtor will say it's worth $XXX! You'll say "Is it bollox" and negotiate from there. The alleged victims said during the trial that they performed their own valuation and made their own decision.

                  Then of course some DA elected on a promise to 'Get Trump' creates a Trumped up charge and hits him with a modest $500m fine, waaay out of proportion to any harm done. And it's much the same with TikTok. Democrats have rarely been involved in anything that creates real value. They can, however recognise value and help themselves to $500m in 'fines', or just the US market for one of the most popular apps. And if it works, it's a gift that'll keep in giving. Musk is obviously under the direction or control of Putin, therefore he'll have 6 months to divest X/Twitter.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                And any reckless speculator can buy it and try

                And risk losing the shirt off their back if the can't, or can't quickly enough. Then there is the likely swarm of lawsuits that will follow, potentially clouding the title. Then the batshit crazy people.

                It's value as a "private club" other than one catering to Trumps sycophants has also been degraded.

                Mar-a-loony bin is a high risk, high maintenance roll of the dice for it's next owner. And without east prospects for a viable business or alternate tenant, it's a formula for red ink for years. Other parties could easily squeeze a new owner by slowing down the process of getting it permitted and re-zoned, which could easily take years under the best of circumstances.

                That's not to say that the property has been rendered worthless, just that the pool of buyers is small, bank financing will probably be hell due to it's current owner. Regardless of the intentions or political alignment of the new owner, a large mob of people with opposing views will probably harass, vandalize or rob the place. Buy it for too little a MAGA head or a proud boy will cry foul and burn it down. Pay to much and be called a fool, accused of funneling money to the trumps, and invite the black t-shirt squads to set up shop on the lawn.

                I wish the best to the next owner, but this is how old mansions are left to ruin decades later.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

            Scenario:

            Sellers A and B sell the essentially the same product. Seller A is honest in their marketing, seller B is not. Buyers buy more from seller B than A, leading to B making more and A making less than they would if both were fully honest. The buyers have not been harmed, have lost no money, etc. Seller A lost no money, just made less. Is this OK? At what point does speech move from "puffery" to "fraud"?

            Society has an interest in markets being fair (this is an essential part of capitalism, right?) and thus takes action against seller B.

            Discuss.

            1. hedgie Bronze badge

              Re: TikTok is the test case for a forced fire sale.

              The idea of the market decide is, perhaps, some impossible Platonist ideal. In order to be reality, consumers would need perfect knowledge, and there would have to be effectively unlimited competition. We can't even approach either of these without regulation on commercial speech, to prevent monopolies and the abuses thereof, and lower barriers of entry. For natural monopolies, in many cases, public ownership, at least of the physical infrastructure[1] often makes the most sense. For example in the "natural monopoly" scenario: The county I live in has its power from PG&E who neglect maintenance with disastrous and deadly results, charge through the nose for rates just to reward execs and major investors, and then raise the rates even more for their shoddy service when the inevitable lawsuits hit. The next county over is covered by a municipal utility district that is more reliable and far cheaper for the consumer.

              [1] With private businesses all paying the same access fee to offer services to the public using said infrastructure being viable in many cases, such as internet service.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: nothing's shocking

        "The US can of course ask US companies exactly the same thing under national security letters."

        And the CLOUD Act.

  4. martinusher Silver badge

    Can't have foreigners making money here.

    I'm not into social media, I think its fundamentally evil, but its popular and generates revenue. Revenue that should be going into US corporate pockets, not those foreigners. So out comes the "National Security" canard -- its perfectly OK provided we can make the money off it.

    Same with Huawei. Its a competitive threat so had to be taken down. Its not just the Chinese,either. Anyone remember what happened to Japanese motorcycles in the 1980s? We couldn't ban them outright, too obvious, so we just taxed them. Same with anything else. (Japanese semiconductors.) We've had a go at Airbus more than once. Its the same tune, just different words to the sng.

    Just to demonstrate how low we can go here, the lobbyists are pushing for a $20 billion spend to replace "Chinese Cranes" at our ports. I don't know why we bought cranes from China, we should be able to make them locally, but I suppose there's more money in derivatives than cranes or something.

    Anyway, I think the whole TikToc thing is just a way to alienate about 130 million voters, a group most likely to be Democrats. Congress has repeatedly demonstrated that they're -- to use British parlance -- "a bunch of self-interested wankers" who don't deserve the time of day, much less our respect and votes, so to retain the status quo they've got to find a way of getting people to not vote. This is as good a way as any.

  5. Tron Silver badge

    In other news...

    Putin has been appropriating private ex-Western or ex-offshoring oligarch owned corporations in Russia and switching them to state ownership, or to his mates. No difference really. Standard cold war behaviour by all sides.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: In other news...

      Putin has been appropriating private ex-Western or ex-offshoring oligarch owned corporations in Russia and switching them to state ownership, or to his mates. No difference really. Standard cold war behaviour by all sides.

      Some of that's just the inevitable effect of the sanctions our Dear 'Leaders' imposed. Businesses invested in Russia, then EU and US said they can't trade. Or pay taxes, payroll etc. So those business slip into administration and new ownership. Russia thanks Ford, GM etc for all the new factories.

  6. trevorde Silver badge

    Better buyer

    Elon Musk - just look at all the fine work he's done at Xitter

  7. Billy Twillig

    From one foreign government to another

    https://www.axios.com/2022/04/11/trump-saudi-kushner-mnuchin#:~:text=Trump%20alums%20cash%20in%20on%20Saudi%20ties&text=Driving%20the%20news%3A%20Jared%20Kushner's,Strategic%20Capital%20secured%20%241%20billion.

    I wonder how the Saudis will react to all of the women and girls on TikTok being women and girls.

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