Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Truth Social set to begin trading as DJT Tuesday

Author: Editors Desk, Jessica Guynn Source: USA Today
March 25, 2024 at 13:17

Former President Donald Trump's Truth Social to go public after merger

Get ready for the debut of a new social media ticker: DJT.

Donald Trump's struggling social media platform −founded after he was booted from the major social media platforms following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot − is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Tuesday under the ticker that bears his initials.

Truth Social’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, will replace Digital World Acquisition after completing a merger with Digital World, a shell company that was already listed on the Nasdaq.

Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. surged 35% in regular trading Monday, gaining $13.01 to close at $49.95, erasing losses from Friday when investors voted to approve the deal. The opening stock price on Tuesday will be the same as Monday's closing price.

 Truth Social makes Trump richerTrump's net worth, boosted by Truth Social stock, lands him on world's 500 richest list

Truth Social's parent company will have a market value of approximately $5.5 billion when it starts trading and Trump's stake will be worth about $3 billion.

The valuation is pricey for a company that has racked up tens of millions of dollars in losses since launching in 2021. Social media firm Reddit is valued at about $8 billion following its recent initial public offering. It had more than $800 million in sales last year. Trump Media's Truth Social platform generated $3.3 million in revenue during the first nine months of 2023.

“This is a stock where the market price is divorced from fundamental value,” said University of Florida professor Jay Ritter.

Ritter compared Truth Social to the wax-and-wane fortunes of AMC, the movie theater chain, and video retailer GameStop that got short-term boosts when online traders, mom-and-pop investors, small brokers and others organized on social media platform Reddit to buy up shares and face down hedge funds that were shorting the stocks.

“This doesn’t happen too often, but there are precedents,” Ritter said. 

He estimated that the stock is worth about $2 a share and he predicted that trading in the stock would continue to be volatile as Trump supporters buy and sell shares.

 

This photo illustration shows an image of former US President Donald Trump next to a phone screen that is displaying the Truth Social app, in Washington, DC, on February 21, 2022.
This photo illustration shows an image of former US President Donald Trump next to a phone screen that is displaying the Truth Social app, in Washington, DC, on February 21, 2022." STEFANI REYNOLDS, AFP Via Getty Images

 

A minor player in the social media universe where Facebook and TikTok command billions of users, Truth Social had about 494,000 U.S. mobile app users on iOS and Android in February and another 648,000 unique visitors in the U.S. to its website, according to research firm SimilarWeb. Both stats are down on a year-over-year basis, a 51% decline for mobile apps and a 20% decline for web visitors, the firm said. Truth Social does not disclose its user figures.

Growing the platform that trades on Trump’s personality and brand will be critical to its success, according to a regulatory filing. Other risk factors include Trump’s "death, incarceration or incapacity" as well as his checkered business history from the bankruptcy of the Trump Taj Mahal in 1991 to the bankruptcy of the Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts in 2004.

"A number of companies that were associated with President Trump have filed for bankruptcy," the filing states.

The surge in Digital World shares has increased the value of Trump’s stake in Trump Media by billions of dollars. Trump owns 79 million shares of the 135 million shares that will be outstanding Tuesday.

Those Trump Media shares have handed him a crucial lifeline in posting bond as he appeals the civil fraud judgment against him.

A New York appeals court gave Trump 10 more days to post his bond and slashed the amount to $175 million. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has been struggling under the weight of not just the $454 million civil fraud judgment, but also an $83.3 million defamation trial loss to advice columnist E. Jean Carroll.

Trump's gains are all on paper for the time being. He would need Trump Media’s seven-person board to lift a restriction that prevents Trump from selling shares or using them as collateral for a bond for the next six months. The board is stacked with allies including his son, Donald Trump Jr., and three former members of his administration.

Trump was chairman of Trump Media before the merger. He is not listed as a member of the company’s new board.

The deal gives Trump Media access to more than $300 million that Digital World raised from investors in a 2021 IPO and a private financing deal.

Digital World is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), also called a blank check company. These shell companies raise money and list publicly with the goal of merging with a private company to take it public. They offer an alternative to conventional IPOs.

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