Trump could be paid to post for his own startup.


Former President Donald J. Trump could be paid for his own startup and it’s unclear whether securities regulators would allow his merger with a cash-rich shell company, according to a published securities filing Monday.

The long-awaited registration statement filed by the Digital World Acquisition Corporation said it expects to complete the merger with Trump Media & Technology Group in the second half of the year. But the document, known as S4, says the Securities and Exchange Commission, which began investigating the proposed merger last year, may “disapprove this transaction and issue a stop order” that would block it. .

Digital World said Mr. Trump could be paid to post streaming videos on Trump Media’s video-on-demand service under certain circumstances. The licensing agreement also doesn’t obligate him to exclusively use Truth Social, Trump Media’s Twitter-like social media platform, and allows him to “post from a personal account tied to political messaging.” , political fundraising or voting”. efforts on any social media site at any time.

If the former president does anything “illegal, immoral or unethical,” it is not considered a violation of his agreement with the company, according to the filing.

The unusual licensing deal is unlikely to calm concerns over Mr Trump’s return to Twitter if Elon Musk closes his deal to acquire the much larger social media platform. Mr. Musk, the world’s richest man, has said he would lift the Twitter ban on Mr. Trump if he acquires the company; Mr Trump said he “probably wouldn’t join Twitter if he could”.

Twitter suspended Mr. Trump and kicked him off the platform after supporters stormed Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021 and Mr. Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election had left him been stolen.

Mr Trump had nearly 90 million Twitter followers when he was kicked off the platform. He currently has around 2.7 million followers on Truth Social, where he only started posting in earnest this month.

The most looming concern for Trump Media is whether securities regulators will allow the deal to proceed, which would allow Mr. Trump’s company access to up to $1.3 billion. dollars in cash from investors.

Mr. Trump could own 73 million shares, or just under 50% of the voting power in Trump Media common stock, if the merger is completed. Digital World said in the filing that Mr. Trump would have significant influence over the company post-merger and may be able to determine who sits on board and “block issues requiring shareholder approval.”

If the deal were to close at Digital World’s current share price of $44, Mr. Trump’s stake would initially be valued at more than $3 billion.

Digital World said the SEC served it with a subpoena requesting various documents regarding its board meetings, business procedures, and “communications with and evaluation of potential targets.”

The SEC has been investigating whether Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC, Digital World went public in September 2021 because a deal with Trump Media was already in the works.

Digital World’s filing says SPAC was considering acquiring more than a dozen companies at the time of its IPO. But it confirmed previous New York Times reports that another SPAC controlled by Digital World chief executive Patrick Orlando was in serious merger talks with Trump Media until just days before the initial public offering. shares of Digital World.

SPACs, companies that go public in hopes of finding a private company to acquire, aren’t supposed to have an acquisition target lined up at the time of their IPO Digital World did not disclose talks between the another SPAC from Mr. Orlando, Benessere Capital Acquisition and Trump Media.

In a filing earlier this year, Benessere said he “ended” a letter of intent he signed with an anonymous social media company on Sept. 1 because he “didn’t yet executed certain key agreements” or made its final audits.

Digital World priced its IPO the next day.

Shares of Digital World rose more than 6% in early trading to around $44.50 per share. Although down 50% since early March, shares are more than four times higher than before the company announced its deal with Trump Media last year.


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