Meet the People Who Could Acquire TikTok if Bytedance Is Forced to Sell It

TikTok may come with a hefty price tag, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some interested buyers.


Mar. 15 2024, Published 10:41 a.m. ET

The TikTok logo on the side of a building.
Source: Getty Images

As a potential TikTok ban continues to circulate in Congress, there has been rampant speculation about whether it would have any interest from American buyers. The company, which is reportedly worth as much as $50 billion, would have to be sold to an American owner if the bill were passed into law, or it would be forced to cease operation in the US.

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There are plenty of potential buyers who may shy away from the platform over concerns about being accused of becoming a monopoly, or because of the significant price tag. Even so, there has been rampant speculation about who could buy TikTok. Here are five potential buyers who might be interested.

Former treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin testifies before the Treasury Committee in Congress.
Source: Getty Images

Donald Trump's former treasury secretary has expressed interest in purchasing the app, and even said he was getting a group of investors together to look into purchasing it.

“I think the legislation should pass and I think it should be sold,” he said on CNBC. “This needs to be controlled by US business.”

Mnuchin has not shared what the valuation for the company might be, or who his partners would be in purchasing it.

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Former Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

Bobby Kotick attending an evidentiary hearing in a case against Activision Blizzard.
Source: Getty Images

Another potentially interested buyer who is already looking at getting investors together is Bobby Kotick, who stepped down from his role as Acvitivision Blizzard's CEO in December of 2023. According to reporting in The Wall Street Journal, Kotick has expressed interest in buying the company to ByteDance co-founder Zhang Yiming and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, although details of what a potential deal would look like are still unclear.

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'Shark Tank' panelist Kevin O'Leary

The investor best known for his participation on Shark Tank, Kevin O'Leary said in an interview with Fox News that TikTok would not get banned "because I'm going to buy it." He then posted that same interview on his TikTok account, so it seems like he might really mean it.

“A syndicate will be formed. I’d like to be involved, obviously,” he added. He said that China could retain 20% ownership of the company, but it would have an American CEO and American servers.

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The conservative platform Rumble

Source: Twitter/@rumblevideo

Although companies like Google and Meta have chosen not to get involved in a potential purchase, the conservative social media platform Rumble has been far more open about its interest. The company's CEO, Chris Pavlovski, even released a statement on Tuesday and offered to “join a consortium with other parties seeking to acquire and operate TikTok inside the United States.”

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Microsoft was previously interested

An image of the Microsoft logo on a wall.
Source: Getty Images

Although the massive software company has not expressed any interest in this go-round, when there were discussions of banning TikTok in 2020, Microsoft said that it was "committed" to purchasing the platform. Ultimately, that sale fell through, and Walmart and Oracle were then set to partner to operate the company's US servers. That deal was put on hold when the Biden administration took over, and there's been no major discussion of it since.

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