Trump’s social media company loses billions in value as stock price swings wildly

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Former President Donald Trump’s fledgling media business is losing its sheen among investors a week after going public, with a sharp reversal in the company’s stock price lopping $4 billion off its value.

Monday’s plunge in Trump Media & Technology Group’s shares, which debuted on the Nasdaq Composite Index on March 25 under the ticker “DJT” (after the former president’s initials), comes as it disclosed mounting losses in a regulatory filing. The company also noted that its accountant had issued a warning that its losses “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”

Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group, whose primary asset is the Truth Social platform, tumbled 21% on Monday, closing at $48.66, or below its opening price last Monday of $49.90 per share. It also represents a 39% plunge from the stock’s high of $79.38 on March 26. 

Since then, the stock has whipsawed, rallying 6% on Tuesday, but then dipping 5.4% on Wednesday, when it closed at $48.81, again below its opening price when Trump Media went public last week.

Still, the stock also remains higher than before a deal that took Trump’s media company public last week. The shares had previously traded under the name Digital World Acquisition Corp., a shell company designed to take Truth Social public. Even after Monday’s dip, the stock has surged 179% this year.

As of the close of trading on Tuesday, Trump, who owns 57% of the newly public company, has lost $2.5 billion — at least on paper — because of the stock slide. His stake is now worth $3.8 billion, down from $6.3 billion at the stock’s peak last week.

Worth more than Harley-Davidson

To be sure, Trump Media continues to maintain a heady market capitalization for a business that’s in the red and that booked just $4.1 million in revenue last year. Even after Monday’s stock plunge, the business is worth $6.7 billion, making it more valuable than companies like Bausch & Lomb, Alcoa Corp. or Harley-Davidson, all of which have annual revenue in the billions. 

Trump Media’s soaring valuation has prompted comparisons with so-called “meme” stocks like GameStop, which typically attract individual investors based on social media buzz, rather than the tried-and-true yardsticks relied on by institutional investors, such as profitability and revenue growth. 

Yet Truth Social has positioned itself as an alternative to more established tech giants such as Meta’s Facebook, which also endured losses in its early years. 

“GameStop was the meme stock of a lifetime, but Trump Media has put it to shame,” Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told the Associated Press last week. 

Despite the attention around Trump Media’s debut on the public market, it’s not giving a much of a boost to Truth Social, according to Similarweb. The web analytics firm found that traffic from daily active users of the platform fell 23% last week. 

“Even during the peak of excitement over the IPO (plus the release of a Trump-branded Bible), usage was less than 1% higher than the previous week,” Similarweb said in a new report.

Trump Media CEO Devin Nunes: No debt

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump Media & Technology Group CEO Devin Nunes said Truth Social “has no debt and over $200 million in the bank, opening numerous possibilities for expanding and enhancing our platform.”

But details about Trump Media’s finances show that the company’s revenue is far lower than other social media platforms. On Monday, the company said it booked $4.1 million in revenue last year, compared with $1.5 million in the year-earlier period. 

That means Trump Media had about $750,000 in revenue in the fourth quarter, as the company had previously disclosed sales of $3.38 million for the first nine months of 2023. By comparison, Reddit, another money-losing tech company that recently went public, booked $804 million in revenue last year.

Trump Media & Technology Group also posted a loss of $58 million in 2023, compared with a profit of $50 million in the prior year. 

Additionally, it noted that its accountant flagged that the company’s losses raise doubts about its ability to continue operating. Such a warning, however, reflects the company’s current situation; the company could grow its user base, revenue and reverse its losses, putting it on a more stable path. 

Trump’s stake locked up

Trump stands to make billions from his majority stake in Truth Social’s parent company, a windfall that comes at an opportune time for the former president given mounting financial pressures

Even so, Trump is unable to access the stock, at least for now. That’s because Trump and other company executives are subject to a so-called “lock-up” provision that bars them from selling the stock for at least six months. Such provisions are common in IPOs as a way to keep insiders from dumping shares immediately after a company goes public.

“Trump cannot sell his stock in the company for six months, making it difficult to translate Truth Social’s value into liquid cash that can be spent on the campaign,” Europa Group analysts said in a report. “That outlook could change over the coming months, particularly if Trump obtains the waiver or can find a lender willing to accept shares in Trump Media as collateral.”

Many of the investors in DJT appear to be small investors who want to show their support for the former president by buying shares in the company. On Truth Social, some of these shareholders posted rebuttals about the stock decline, blaming short sellers, or people who make bets that a stock will decline. 

Others predicted that Trump Media’s shares will soon rebound, while others blamed the stock decline on the former president’s detractors. “They don’t like President @realDonaldTrump and his policies, especially his creation, Truth Social, so they are trying to destroy his company, DJT,” one supporter on a DJT group on Truth Social wrote. 

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