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Trump's social media company starts trading on Nasdaq with a market value of almost $6.8 billion

Trump Media Trading
Posted at 7:11 AM, Mar 26, 2024

NEW YORK (AP) — As Donald Trump’s social media company begins trading publicly Tuesday, would-be investors might ask themselves if the stock is too pricey and potentially too volatile.

Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. was acquired Monday by a blank-check company called Digital World Acquisition Corp. Trump Media, which runs the social media platform Truth Social, now takes Digital World’s place on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Trump Media debuts with a stock price near $50 and a market value of about $6.8 billion. Many of Digital World’s investors were small-time investors either trying to support Trump or aiming to cash in on the mania, instead of big institutional and professional investors. Those shareholders helped the stock more than double this year in anticipation of the merger going through.

They’re betting on a company that has yet to turn a profit. Trump Media lost $49 million in the first nine months of last year, when it brought in just $3.4 million in revenue and had to pay $37.7 million in interest expenses. In a recent regulatory filing, the company cited the high rate of failure for new social media platforms, as well as the company’s expectation that it will lose money on its operations “for the foreseeable future” as risks for investors.

Truth Social launched in February 2022, one year after Trump was banned from major social platforms including Facebook and X, formerly Twitter, following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He’s since been reinstated to both but has stuck with Truth Social.

On Monday, Trump appeared in court in New York at hearing for a criminal case involving hush money payments made to cover up claims of marital infidelity. Afterwards, Trump told reporters that “Truth Social is doing very well. It’s hot as a pistol and doing great.”

However, Trump Media has yet to disclose Truth Social’s user numbers — although that should change now that the company is public. Research firm Similarweb estimates that Truth Social 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.

Besides competition in the social media field, Trump Media faces other risks — including to some degree Trump, who will have a nearly 60% ownership stake in the company.

Trump Media, which is based in Palm Beach, Florida, said in a regulatory filing that it “is highly dependent on the popularity and presence of President Trump.” If the former president were to limit or discontinue his relationship with the company for any reason, including due to his campaign to regain the presidency, the company “would be significantly disadvantaged.”

Acknowledging Trump’s involvement in numerous legal proceedings, the company noted that “an adverse outcome in one or more” of the cases could negatively affect Trump Media and Truth Social.

Another risk, the company said, was that as a controlling stockholder, Trump would be entitled to vote his shares in his own interest, which may not always be in the interests of all the shareholders generally.

If recent trading activity is any indication, investors could be in for a bumpy ride. Digital World shares more than doubled this year ahead of a shareholder vote on the merger with Trump Media. After the vote Friday, shares dropped almost 14%, but Monday they rebounded strongly with a gain of 35%.

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