Truth Social set to go public, boosting Trump's wealth by several billions

Trump could potentially pocket over $3 billion after his social media company goes public yet immediate access to this windfall may not be guaranteed. (Photo/AFP)

Donald Trump appears to be on the brink of taking his Truth Social app public, potentially positioning himself for a massive financial gain.

Shareholders of Digital World Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded shell company, approved a deal to merge with the Trump’s media business in a Friday vote. That means Trump Media & Technology Group, whose flagship product is social networking site Truth Social, will soon begin trading on the Nasdaq stock market.

Trump is set to own most of the combined company — or nearly 79 million shares. Multiply that by Digital World’s closing stock price on Friday of $36.94, and the total value of his stake could be nearly $3 billion.

The greenlight arrives at a time the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is facing his most costly legal battle to date: a $454 million judgment in a fraud lawsuit.

Trump may not be able to cash out the deal's windfall immediately, unless the company's board makes changes to a “lock-up” provision that prevents company insiders from selling newly issued shares for six months.

Trump claimed on Friday that he has nearly $500 million in cash, following assertions from his legal team that he lacks sufficient funds to comply with the $464 million fine imposed on him and his co-defendants in a civil fraud case.

"Through hard work, talent, and luck, I currently have almost five hundred million dollars in cash, a substantial amount of which I intended to use in my campaign for president," Trump wrote in a post in Truth Social on Friday.

Trump's presidential campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Trump’s earlier foray into the stock market didn’t end well. Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts went public in 1995 under the symbol DJT — the same symbol Trump Media will trade under. By 2004, Trump’s casino company had filed for bankruptcy protection and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

Ahead of Friday's approval, Digital World's regulatory filings listed many of the risks its investors face, as well as those of the Truth Social owner once Trump Media also goes public.

Truth Social launched in February 2022, one year after Trump was banned from major social platforms including Facebook and Twitter, the platform now known as X, following the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. He's since been reinstated to both but has stuck with Truth Social as a megaphone for his message.

Plunge into public market

Trump promoted Truth Social in a post on the social media network Thursday evening, saying: “TRUTH SOCIAL IS MY VOICE, AND THE REAL VOICE OF AMERICA!!! MAGA2024!!!”

Trump Media hasn't so far disclosed Truth Social's user numbers. But research firm Similarweb estimates that it had roughly 5 million active mobile and web users in February. That's far below TikTok's more than 2 billion and Facebook's 3 billion — but still higher than other “alt-tech” rivals like Parler, which has been offline for nearly a year but is planning a comeback, or Gettr, which had less than 2 million visitors in February.

A plunge into the public market means Trump's social media business will soon have to disclose more details.

Private companies are accountable to their owners, while public ones are accountable to the shareholders who own the company’s stock. Once public, Trump Media will be required to report its quarterly finances as well as other material news to federal regulators.

Truth Social faces some of the same problems that X has been contending with — mainstream advertisers who don’t want to be associated with hate speech and other controversial content.


Source: TRT