Donald Trump news: Media stocks hit benchmark

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump has secured an additional US$1.8 billion worth of shares in Trump Media, according to a regulatory filing this week.

Based on the company’s stock hitting certain price benchmarks, Trump was awarded an additional 36 million shares in the company that owns his social media platform Truth Social. That brings his total ownership to more than 114 million shares, which based on Wednesday morning’s stock price, are worth US$5.7 billion.

For now, the value of those shares is considered “paper wealth.” Trump is prohibited from selling any shares for six months after Trump Media went public without securing a waiver from the company’s board.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, now owns close to two-thirds of the company’s outstanding shares.

Trump Media & Technology Group shares have surged in the past couple of weeks and closed Tuesday at US$49.93. Trump only needed the stock to be above US$17.50 each for 20 consecutive trading days to secure the new shares.

Trump Media got its place on the Nasdaq after merging with a company called Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. These type of mergers offer young companies quicker and easier routes to getting their shares trading publicly.

On March 26, the first day of trading after Trump Media closed the merger with Digital World Acquisition, shares in the newly combined company reached nearly US$80 each in intraday trading before closing at US$57.99.

Less than a week after that flashy stock market debut, Trump Media disclosed that it lost nearly US$58.2 million last year, sending its stock tumbling more than 21 per cent. The 2023 losses marked a stark decline compared with the profit of US$50.5 million that the company reported for 2022, according to a regulatory filing.

In the subsequent weeks, the company’s stock tumbled to around US$22 each before rebounding in mid-April.

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.

Trump Media shares fell 6.5 per cent to US$46.68 in late morning trading Wednesday. 


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