There is a slide named “Technology Team” in the presentation deck designed to encourage individuals to invest money in former President Donald Trump’s new social-media and money-finding enterprise, Trump Media & Technology Group. As Matt Levine points out, it only identifies members by their first names and last initials, much like an AA meeting.
I blew up this screengrab because its font was Illegible because it’s in 0.0007-point in the original document. This is labeled with the caveat “Personnel subject to change.”
This is a minor issue, but it is one of several that raises concerns about TMTG’s chances of success. If “Vlad N.” is a decent and/or genuine CIO, why not simply give us his full name? Or, like “Star Trek” redshirts, are these people so “subject to change” that we shouldn’t bother getting to know them?
The participation of Donald Trump, whose life job, or as some have reminded, is separating investors and fans from their wallets by pitching promises that he routinely fails to keep, is an even larger warning signal regarding TMTG’s prospects for success.
Nonetheless, this PowerPoint deck persuaded investors to pay TMTG $1 billion in a PIPE transaction to go along with its merger with DWAC, which has many people exclaiming AYKM, among other acronyms.
Who would put money into this? One probable pool is ridiculously rich individuals who are so angry that Trump has been barred from conventional social media that they are prepared to spend money for even the semblance of Trump-branded social media. This seems to be a small, if not non-existent, entity, similar to TMTG’s Technology Team.
A second pool consists of special interests seeking to curry favor with Trump in the event that he is re-elected to the presidency. Given the Trump orbit’s well-documented penchant for peddling influence, Tim believes it’s important for voters to know who these individuals are, including their complete surnames and countries.
A third group is more mercenary: hedge funds and other investors who bought into TMTG’s fundamental argument that all software can be sold at a higher value. Because Trump’s actual brilliance here is selling the mother of all meme stocks into the mother of all meme-stock bubbles. When you’ve got that, who needs Technology Teams?
Truth social media already stumbled as it missed the November deadline for releasing an invitation-only beta version of “Truth Social,” its ostensible Twitter replacement.
There have been no formal announcements of a beta launch, nor have any sightings or photographs of an operating platform been posted online.
At the same time, the stock price of Digital World Acquisition Corp. – the SPAC business that hopes to combine with Trump’s social media organization – has plummeted since the agreement was revealed in late October.
DWAC shares, which had been trading as high as $175 per share immediately after the transaction was announced, were trading about $44 per share on Wednesday.
Trump’s new firm is attempting to raise up to $1 billion by selling shares to hedge funds and family offices at a price higher than its pre-merger value of $10 per share.
“Trump Media is now looking to secure a so-called private investment in public equity (PIPE) that would value Digital World shares closer to their recent price, currently hovering around $40,” Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources.
DWAC shares increased in value during the last 10 minutes of trade Wednesday, rising from $38.35 at 3:50 PM to a high of $51.02 just after 4:00 PM.
It is fairly uncommon for technology corporations to miss their own product delivery dates.
However, the November launch date set by Trump Media & Technology Group for “Truth Social” was the first concrete test of whether the business could deliver on its promises to DWAC investors.
DWAC is a special purpose acquisition company, often known as a blank check firm, that raised around $290 million in its first public offering in September.
On October 20, DWAC declared its intention to combine with Trump’s newly formed TMTG in a transaction worth at up to $1.7 billion.
Trump Media & Technology Group said in its own statement that it “would soon be establishing a social network entitled ‘TRUTH Social.’”
“TRUTH Social is now available for PreOrder in the Apple App store. TRUTH Social plans to begin its Beta Launch for invited guests in November 2021,” the announcement said. “A nationwide rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2022. Those who are interested in joining TRUTH Social may now visit www.truthsocial.com to sign up for the invite list.”
However, as of Wednesday, the Truth Social website was still just a landing page with a sign-up form to be added to the “waiting list.”
It’s also unclear who’s developing the network.
TMTG’s investor presentation makes no mention of any firms working on the TRUTH Social platform, nor does it name any executives participating in the social media site.
Before the purchase was announced, DWAC shares was trading about $10.
More than 500 million shares of DWAC were exchanged between Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, and the business was one of the most talked on retail traders’ discussion forums.
Owning DWAC stock has also become a symbol of political support for Trump. Several of the former president’s most vocal supporters in Congress purchased stock in the corporation.
The speculating frenzy, however, was short-lived.
Within a week, the stock price started to decrease and has been steadily declining since then.
While the closing price of $44.35 on Wednesday was more than four times the pre-deal trading price, investors who acquired DWAC shares at the height of the frenzy and hung on to the company would have seen the majority of their investment value disappear.
If Truth Social debuts as planned, it would give a forum for Trump, who has been barred from Facebook and Twitter after his instigation of the tragic Jan. 6 assault of the United States Capitol.
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