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ByteDance Investors Could Win in TikTok Sale, GOP Lawmaker Says

(Bloomberg) -- Investors in TikTok’s Chinese parent company stand to benefit if it sold the app because divestment would remove a source of uncertainty, a Republican lawmaker said.

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“It would be in the financial interest of ByteDance’s investors to effectuate a forced sale,” Representative Mike Gallagher, who spearheaded a House-passed bill aimed at making the company divest TikTok to allow its continued operation in the US, said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.

Efforts to remove Chinese corporate influence over the popular social-media platform is back on the political agenda in an election year. At least two US senators voiced support in principle for the bill on Sunday, though it faces a slower process in the chamber after winning bipartisan backing in the House last week on concern over Chinese government influence on the American public.

Key senators have expressed constitutional reservations about banning the platform. Gallagher, who chairs a House committee looking into the US-China strategic competition, argued on Face the Nation that a forced sale “absolutely could” happen before the November elections.

“I think the user experience on the app would improve and you wouldn’t have this concern over being propagandized, the opaque algorithm influencing the information you see,” he said. “That would go away, so I imagine it would actually increase in value.”

Read more: Jeff Yass’ $15 Billion TikTok Fortune Shines Light on His GOP Clout

While President Joe Biden has said he’d sign the House bill on TikTok, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Sunday “we don’t want to see it banned.”

“We do want to see ByteDance no longer in control of that application,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

Senator Mike Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, said the best solution would be for ByteDance “to allow for American ownership” of TikTok.

“If not, then we’re probably going to have to eliminate it from the platforms,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, gave the House bill a qualified endorsement.

“I’d like to see the final language, but I’m certainly predisposed to vote for it,” he said NBC’s Meet the Press.

Read more: Why TikTok Faces a US Ban Over National Security: QuickTake

Former US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he’s targeting a purchase of TikTok from its parent, telling CNBC he has spoken to potential co-investors about acquiring the app.

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