Trump’s net worth falls by $1bn as social media firm sinks

Donald Trump’s net worth tumbled by $1 billion along with the shares of his social media business after it disclosed a more than $58 million loss in 2023, as revenue for the former president’s Truth Social platform trickled in.

Trump Media & Technology Group Corp’s stock fell 21 per cent Monday to $48.66 per share, below the $49.95 level where the blank-check vehicle it merged with was trading a week ago. Mr Trump owns 57 per cent of the company, according to the filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, with his stake now worth $3.76 billion on paper.

The slump takes his net worth to $6.4 billion, a fall of 14 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Trump Media generated just $4.1 million in revenue for the full year, results reported in a filing Monday morning show, underscoring how richly valued it is relative to its peers. The company doesn’t report active user numbers, disclosing in its prospectus in February only that Truth Social has about 9 million signups across its platforms.

The firm has still delivered a meteoric gain this year to date, with its market value sitting at about $6.6 billion after it became a meme stock and captivated retail traders.

Reddit — which went public last month and has a similar valuation — had 267.5 million weekly active users in the last quarter, and delivered $804 million in revenue last year. Meanwhile Snap, which has a market value of $19 billion, had a net loss of $1.3 billion on $4.6 billion in sales last year. Snap estimated daily active users for the first-quarter of about 420 million.

Mr Trump currently faces legal troubles including four criminal prosecutions. The first criminal trial — alleging he falsified business records to conceal hush money payments to a porn star before the 2016 election — is set to start April 15th. He also faces an April 4th deadline to post a $175 million bond after the New York attorney general proved at trial that he’d inflated his net wealth by billions of dollars a year in bank transactions. He is appealing the judgment.

The discrepancy between where Trump Media’s shares trade and how the underlying business performs indicates that some investors use it to signal they support Trump’s push for re-election. The stock, which has been trading since 2021 under the SPAC’s ticker, has more than tripled this year as the retail-trading crowd pumps it with posts across Stocktwits and Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum.

In the filing, Trump Media’s revenue inched higher from $1.47 million in 2022 as it swung to an annual loss. The company recorded a $50.5 million profit in 2022 after getting a boost from a change in the value related to its convertible notes.

Unlike traditional social-media companies that tout metrics like active users or revenue per user, Trump Media “believes that adhering to traditional key performance indicators” could “divert its focus from strategic evaluation with respect to the progress and growth of its business,” according to the prospectus. When regulators inquired about Truth Social’s number of signups and users, the company pushed back, and ultimately disclosed only the signups, filings show.

Mr Trump can’t sell the stake immediately due to a six-month lock-up agreement, hindering his ability to monetise the shares and ease his present cash crunch.

Mr Trump’s media company debuted last week after the closing of the merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. brought in more than $275 million of much-needed cash. The media startup had warned that without the deal there were concerns that it could go bankrupt.

The heightened valuation has made it costly and risky to bet against with short sellers facing annual financing costs of 500 per cent to borrow, according to brokerages. That makes it the most expensive US company to bet against with over $100 million of short interest by a large margin, data from financial analytics firm S3 Partners show.

Companies that go public via SPAC have historically been volatile in the days around the merger completion despite little fundamental change. Some stocks, including Vinfast Auto, saw prices surge as the small amount of stock available for trading made it easy for traders to drive share prices to extremes, before ultimately cratering. More than one-fifth of the nearly 500 SPAC deals that have closed since 2019 are trading below $1 each, a greater than 90% per cent plunge. – Bloomberg


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.