Trump Media stock ticker DJT debuts after DWAC merger

In this photo, a smartphone displays the logo of Donald Trump’s Truth Social app on March 25, 2024.

Anna Barclay | Getty Images

The share price of Donald Trump‘s social media company jumped more than 50% minutes after it began public trading under the ticker DJT on Tuesday morning.

Trading in the Trump Media & Technology Group was briefly halted amid the rise due to volatility before it resumed around 9:40 a.m. ET. More than 6.5 million shares in Trump Media had changed hands by 9:50 a.m.

The ticker debuted on the Nasdaq stock market nearly three decades after the former president used it to launch his publicly traded hotel and casino company to great fanfare in 1995.

That stock was ignominiously delisted from the New York Stock Exchange nine years later.

The symbol “pays direct homage to the company’s former Chairman and Director, and the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump,” Trump Media said in a statement

“We believe that the commencement of trading of DJT on the public markets testifies to Americans’ demands for free-speech platforms that reject the stifling censorship imposed by Big Tech,” the statement says.

News of Trump Media & Technology Group public trading is seen on television screens at the Nasdaq Marketplace in New York City on March 26, 2024.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Trump Media’s merger with shell company Digital World Acquisition Corp. was completed Monday, allowing it to become publicly traded.

Trump Media by mid-afternoon had a market valuation of at least $8.4 billion on an undiluted share basis.

Trump is the majority shareholder in the company, whose directors include his son, Donald Trump Jr., and other close allies of the former president.

SEC filings show Trump will hold 78.75 million shares in Trump Media, which represents as much as a 69% stake in the company depending on the rate of share redemptions by DWAC shareholders. That stake was worth nearly $6 billion on paper on an undiluted share basis given the the share price of $75.57 around 2:30 p.m.

Trump is barred by terms of the merger from selling his shares for six months. But the company’s board could grant him a waiver of that lock-up period.

Despite Trump Media’s relatively high market valuation, the company reported less than $3.5 million — that’s million, not billion — in revenue over the first three quarters of 2023, with reported losses more than 10 times that amount.

The company’s web site page for “Financials” contains no information.

On its last day of trading Monday under the DWAC ticker, the company’s shares soared more than 35% after a New York appeals court decreased from $454 million to $175 million the amount of a bond Trump would have to post to pause collection on a business fraud judgment while he appeals the case.

The company’s closing price Monday was just under $50 per share.

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Trump’s notoriety helped make the Trump Media deal with DWAC the highest-profile special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, merger ever.

The company’s shareholders may have dreams that its Truth Social app platform will significantly grow its market share enough for the firm to turn a profit. Perhaps its growth could even be turbocharged if Trump is elected president in November.

But for now, Trump Media, just like the previous company that traded under the DJT ticker symbol, is a money loser.

Trump Media reported $49 million in losses for the first nine months of 2023, more than 14 times what it brought in revenue.

When Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts went public $14 per share in 1995 under the DJT ticker, it also made headlines.

Donald J. Trump inside the casino of his venture, Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on March 16, 1990.

Newsday | Getty Images

It made money for Trump, personally, for years.

Trump received more than $44 million in salary from the company over a decade even though the firm repeatedly failed to turn a profit, according to a 2016 Washington Post article on the company.

After losing $1 billion, Trump Hotels filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2004, the same year DJT was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

“I don’t think it’s a failure, it’s a success,” Trump told NBC News in a 2004 interview, after the bankruptcy filing listed $1.8 billion in debt and the stock was trading at about 50 cents per share.

“In this case, it was just something that worked better than other alternatives,” he said of the bankruptcy.

“It’s really just a technical thing, but it came together.”

This is developing news. Check back for updates.

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