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Trump social media merger approved by DWAC shareholders

This photo illustration shows an image of former President Donald Trump next to a phone screen that is displaying the Truth Social app, in Washington, DC, on February 21, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Shareholders in Digital World Acquisition Corp. voted Friday to approve a merger with Donald Trump‘s social media company, a deal that could net the former president an eventual windfall of $3 billion or more.

The vote by DWAC shareholders comes about 2½ years after the so-called special purpose acquisition company announced plans to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group, the private firm that owns the Truth Social app platform.

It also comes as Trump faces the possibility that New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday will start trying to collect on a massive $454 million civil fraud judgment against him.

Shares in the newly combined company, Trump Media, could begin to be publicly traded next week under the stock symbol DJT, Trump’s initials.

Trump’s long-gone casino and hotel company also traded under that ticker symbol.

The share price of DWAC fell by as much as 12% after Friday’s shareholder vote, but clawed back much of that drop by noon ET.

The value of Trump’s shares in the merged company would be affected by any decline in DWAC’s share price.

FactSet data shows that 11% of DWAC’s tradable shares are being sold short, meaning they are being used to bet that the share price will drop.

Several lawsuits recently filed over the merger’s terms did not affect the voting schedule but could ultimately impact the allocation of shares to people who played key roles in setting the merger in motion in late 2021.

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Trump would have nearly 80 million shares in the merged company.

At DWAC’s opening share price Friday, that would be worth around $3 billion or more, although it is not clear what the merged company’s opening share price will be.

The potential windfall for Trump, while massive, could not be immediately realized, at least not under the deal’s current terms. Trump will be barred from selling shares in the merged company for at least six months, and there is no guarantee Trump Media shares will maintain the trading price level that DWAC did before the merger.

It is possible that the board of directors could vote to allow Trump to sell shares earlier than that. And that board could be stocked with people close to Trump, including his son Donald Trump Jr., former wrestling company executive Linda McMahon and Trump’s former trade representative Robert Lighthizer, according to a list of planned nominees.

If the board signed off on lifting the share lockup period, that could quickly free up a large source of cash for Trump, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee this year.

Trump currently faces huge legal bills from his attorneys in criminal and civil cases, and damage judgments topping a half-billion dollars in three separate civil cases.

Trump earlier this week asked a New York appeals court to issue a stay of the $454 million fraud judgment as he seeks to overturn the verdict in the case. That court has yet to rule on his request.

Trump’s lawyers in a court filing said he did not have enough cash to offer as collateral to bond companies for a bond that would secure the judgment and prevent James from collecting.

But in a Truth Social post on Friday, Trump claims that “I currently have almost five hundred million in cash.”

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