Trump’s social media venture says it has raised $1 Billion. Donald Trump’s new social media venture said on Saturday it had entered into agreements to raise about $1 billion from a group of unidentified investors as it prepares to float in the U.S. stock market.
The capital raise, details of which were first reported by Reuters on Wednesday, underscored the former U.S. president’s ability to attract strong financial backing thanks to his personal and political brand. He is working to launch a social media app called TRUTH Social that is at least several weeks away.
Digital World Acquisition Corp, the blank-check acquisition firm that will take Trump Media & Technology Group Corp public by listing it in New York, said it will provide up to $293 million to the partnership with Trump’s media venture, taking the total proceeds to about $1.25 billion.
The $1 billion will be raised through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction from “a diverse group of institutional investors,” Trump Media and Digital World said in a statement. They did not respond to requests to name the investors.
Trump Media inked its deal with Digital World to go public in October at a valuation of $875 million, including debt. The social media venture is now valued at almost $4 billion based on the price of Digital World shares at the end of trading on Friday. Trump supporters and day traders snapped up the stock.
Many Wall Street firms such as mutual funds and private equity firms snubbed the opportunity to invest in the PIPE. Among those investors who participated were hedge funds, family offices and high net-worth individuals, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Family offices manage the wealth of the very rich and their kin.
Some Wall Street investors are reluctant to associate with Trump. He was banned from top social media platforms after the Jan. 6 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol amid concerns he would inspire further violence. The Capitol attack was based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s presidential election.
“As our balance sheet expands, Trump Media & Technology Group will be in a stronger position to fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in a statement on Saturday.
The deal also faces regulatory risk. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure. The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action.
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Trump Media and Digital World said the per-share conversion price of the convertible preferred stock PIPE transaction represents a 20% discount to Digital World’s volume-weighted average closing price for the five trading days to Dec. 1, when Reuters broke news of the capital raise.
If that price averages below $56 in the 10 days after the merger with Digital World has been completed, the discount will grow to 40% with a floor of $10, the companies added. Digital World shares ended trading on Friday $44.97.
Trump had 89 million followers on Twitter, 33 million on Facebook and 24.5 million on Instagram at the time he was blocked, according to a presentation on his company’s website.
Investors attending the confidential investor road shows were shown a demo from the planned social media app, which looked like a Twitter feed, Reuters reported.
Since Trump was voted out of office last year, he has repeatedly dropped hints that he might seek the presidency in 2024.
Special purpose acquisition companies such as Digital World had lost much of their luster with retail investors before the Trump media deal came along. Many of these investors were left with big losses after the companies that merged with SPACs failed to deliver on their ambitious financial projections.
TRUTH Social is scheduled for a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022. It is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.
The United States (US) hit out at Iran on Friday, saying nuclear talks between the Islamic republic and world powers had stalled because Tehran “does not seem to be serious” about returning to the table.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Washington would not let its adversary prolong talks while continuing to advance its nuclear ambitions, and would pursue “other options” if diplomacy failed.
The rebuke came as diplomats paused a seventh round of international talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with US and European participants voicing concern after five days of negotiation.
“What we’ve seen in the last couple of days is that Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna,” Blinken told a virtual conference of world leaders.
“But the window is very, very tight because what is not acceptable, and what we will not allow to happen, is for Iran to try to drag out this process while continuing to move forward inexorably in building up its program.”
Blinken’s assessment was echoed by President Joe Biden, whose spokesperson Jen Psaki said the first six rounds had “made progress,” but that “Iran’s approach this week was not, unfortunately, to try to resolve the remaining issues.”
Psaki said Iran had “started this new round of negotiations with a new round of nuclear provocations” reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Time running out
She also blamed Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, for unilaterally pulling the United States out of the deal, sparking a “dramatic and unprecedented expansion” of Iran’s nuclear program.
Biden has said he wants to re-enter the deal, and the United States has been participating in this week’s talks indirectly.
The landmark accord — initially agreed between Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, and the United States — began unraveling in 2018 when Trump pulled out and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran to start exceeding limits on its nuclear program the following year.
“Tehran is walking back almost all of the difficult compromises crafted after many months of hard work,” said senior diplomats from the “E3” grouping of Britain, France, and Germany.