Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. — the special purpose acquisition company that plans to merge with a Donald Trump-led social media network — surged Thursday in heavy volume as retail traders piled on.
The stock, traded on the Nasdaq GM is changing hands at over $50, nearly quadrupled its Wed. close of $10.17 in an otherwise flat market. Digital World launched last year and went public in September. It will become the vehicle to take the Trump Media startup, which plans to launch a social media platform called Truth Social, to the market in a merger that was announced last night.
Truth Social expects to beta launch in Nov. with a nationwide rollout in the first quarter of 2022. It’s the former president’s latest push to get his voice out via social media since he was banned from Twitter and other platforms following the violent Capitol riot on Jan. 6 to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost to President Joe Biden.
Trump Media said it’s also planning a subscription video on demand service, TMTG+, featuring “non-woke” entertainment programming.
Trading volume of nearly 9.7 million shares was way up from average of 184,000. Digital World Acquisition was one of the top trending tickers on Yahoo Finance, the #1 stock on Fidelity’s orders by retail customers, behind Tesla, and the most mentioned ticker on Stockwits in the last 24 hours, according to reports.
Trump Media & Technology announced the deal in a press release and Digital World Acquisitions in an SEC filing, saying details of the transaction will be forthcoming. It puts an initial enterprise value of $875 million on the company. Trump Media’s growth will be funded initially by DWAC’s cash in trust of $293 million.
DWAC CEO Patrick Orlando said the funds will fuel “TMTG’s scale up, including to provide world class leading technology services to build strong and secure social networks and diverse media offerings. Given the total addressable market and President Trump’s large following, we believe the TMTG opportunity has the potential to create significant shareholder value.”
SPACs are basically created by a sponsor and a group of executives looking to sell shares in an IPO and use the proceeds buy a real company. There’s been an explosion of them over the past year. After a deal, the surviving company is the one purchased. This deal is unusual because SPACs don’t often merge with startups.
Initial SEC filings said Orlando was chief executive of Yunhong International (another SPAC) and Benessere Capital Acquisition Corp., a Miami financial consultancy he founded, with previous roles at Sucro Can Sourcing, a sugar trading company he co-founded, BT Capital Markets, Pure Biofuels Corp. and Deutsche Bank.
DWAC’s CFO is Luis Orleans-Braganza businessman and currently a member of Brazil’s National Congress representing the state of São Paulo. Directors include Lee Jacobson, Bruce Garelick, Justin Shaner (partner/producer at Radar Pictures from 2013-2016), Eric Swider and Rodrigo Veloso.
EF Hutton is acting as sole financial and capital markets advisor to DWAC.
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