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Trump’s wealth surges by $5.5bn as Truth Social starts trading



Trump’s wealth surges by .5bn as Truth Social starts trading

Donald Trump has entered the ranks of the world’s 500 richest people after shares in his social media company surged on their Wall Street debut.

Shares in Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), the entity behind Mr Trump’s Twitter rival Truth Social, rose by more than 50pc at one point after it arrived on the Nasdaq exchange through a merger with a listed cash shell.

This values Mr Trump’s majority stake in the company at more than $5.5bn (£4.3bn), sending his estimated net worth to more than $8bn.

This would be enough for entry into the list of the world’s 500 richest people according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

TMTG started trading on Tuesday under the stock ticker “DJT”. Dealing in the company’s shares was so frantic that trading was briefly suspended. Shares later fell back slightly though were still up 33pc on the day.

The deal cleared its final hurdle last Friday when voters in Digital World Acquisition Corp, the listed shell company that TMTG has combined with, approved the merger. It will give TMTG a $300m cash injection.

Mr Trump is likely to be unable to sell shares for six months as a result of restrictions associated with the listing designed to protect smaller shareholders. However, the company’s board may be able to relax the rules.

Mr Trump announced the launch of Truth Social after the former president was kicked off Twitter in the final days of his presidency. The company is run by Devin Nunes, a former Republican Congressman.

The merger to combine the company with Digital World was announced in 2021 and was meant to have been completed the following year but has been delayed by regulatory investigations. Approval of the deal had also been delayed by a dispute between Digital World and its former chief executive Patrick Orlando over how much his investment company would receive as part of the merger.

Mr Trump is expected to own around 58pc of the combined company. He will not have a formal role but its board will include his son Donald Trump Jr as well as three officials who worked in his administration.

TMTG was valued at up to $10bn by the share surge, several times more than the $875m valuation it was ascribed when the merger with Digital World was first mooted.

Shares are believed to have been pushed up by Mr Trump’s supporters, who have bought shares as a way of backing the former president ahead of this year’s election. Trading has been likened to the “meme stock” online investing frenzy that drove the values of companies such as GameStop to stratospheric levels in 2021.

The leap on Tuesday puts TMTG’s value slightly below social media company Reddit, which went public last week, despite having only a fraction of the latter’s user base and revenues.

Truth Social reported revenues of $3.4m in the first nine months of 2023, compared to $554m for Reddit in the same timeframe. Mr Trump’s company lost $49m over the nine-month period.

It also has around 5m monthly active users, according to estimates, which would value the company at around $2,000 for each user. In comparison, Meta is worth slightly more than $400 per user and Snapchat around $24 per user.

The deal is a boost for Mr Trump who has faced mounting legal bills linked to various court battles. He won a reprieve on Monday when a judge reduced a bond payment associated with a New York civil fraud judgement from $454m to $175m.

Mr Trump was known for his prolific usage of Twitter during his presidency and posts on Truth Social several times a day, although his audience of 6.8m followers pales in comparison to his 87m Twitter followers.

Mr Trump’s suspension from Twitter was lifted after Elon Musk bought the social network and renamed it X. However, Mr Trump has only tweeted once, after his arrest last August on racketeering charges, posting his mugshot and a link to his campaign website.

Writing on Truth Social on Tuesday, Mr Trump posted: “I LOVE TRUTH SOCIAL, I LOVE THE TRUTH!”

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