‘Mr. Wonderful’ Kevin O’Leary Still Interested In Buying TikTok But Issues Warning To Those Interested

O’Leary says TikTok will never sell the algorithm behind the app

Fox News

(Fox News) O’Leary Ventures chief and “Shark Tank” investor Kevin O’Leary told Fox News on Thursday he remains interested in purchasing TikTok if a bill making its way through Congress effectively prohibiting Chinese ownership is passed into law.

O’Leary noted a handful of other potential suitors exist, including former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

He warned, however, that TikTok’s Chinese proprietors will never sell their algorithm to American management, which means any U.S. buyer will have to consider the cost of essentially retaining the application’s user base, ridding it of its nefarious data mining without changing its consumer-facing qualities.

I think there’ll be lots of competition… but we all face the same challenge,” O’Leary told “The Story.”

"Shark Tank" star Kevin OLeary testifies
Kevin O’Leary (Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty)

“We don’t yet know how to deal with the fact that the database — the Texas Project, it’s called — of American people, that is sitting in American servers. Oracle servers in Texas, that’s fine, but the algorithms that make this work — they’re not here in America, and they’re never going to get here.”

The ruling Chinese Communist Party enacted a law prohibiting companies like TikTok parent ByteDance from selling its proprietary technology, O’Leary said, meaning it will be hard to determine the actual full purchase cost stateside.

He noted the last major ownership transfer in the social media space was X, formerly known as Twitter, which he claimed lost tens of billions of dollars in market value after Elon Musk purchased it.

“[X] is still private. If you took it public today, you’d probably be down 60% because they also tried to change the algorithms on that.” O’Leary said.

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