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Trump’s stake in Truth Social falls by $1bn after company reveals $58m loss



The value of Donald Trump’s stake in Truth Social fell by more than $1bn on Monday after the social media company revealed it lost $58.2m last year and an auditor disclosed “substantial doubt” over its ability to continue operating.

Shares in Trump Media & Technology Group, the owner of Truth Social, dropped 21.5% as investors scrutinized the fundamentals of its business.

The former president’s vast stake in the firm was worth about $4.88bn on paper after its extraordinary stock market debut last week. After Monday’s sell-off, it was valued at about $3.83bn.

Trump Media generated sales of just $4.13m in 2023, according to regulatory filings.

While more than $4m in sales marks significant growth from $1.47m in 2022, the previous year, it underlines the small scale of Trump Media’s operation – and the depth of its losses.

BF Borgers of Colorado, an auditor for the company, said the losses “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern”, according to Monday’s filings.

Trump Media separately acknowledged that it could be “subject to greater risks” than other social media platforms “because of the focus of our offerings and the involvement of President Trump”.

Devin Nunes, CEO of Trump Media, said it was “excited” to be operating as a public company. “Closing out the 2023 financials related to the merger, Truth Social today has no debt and over $200m in the bank, opening numerous possibilities for expanding and enhancing our platform,” he said.

Eric Swider, former CEO of Digital World and now a director at Trump Media, described it in a statement as a “united, debt-free, publicly traded company”.

Shares in the group – and Digital World Acquisition, the shell company with which it merged last week to go public – have been surging since the turn of the year.

The company has a similar valuation to Reddit, a social network that also went public last month. Reddit generated sales of $804m in 2023, according to regulatory filings, and losses of $90.8m.

Net losses at Trump Media came to $58.2m in 2023. Stripping out interest expenses on its debt, the firm posted operating losses of $16m, down slightly from $23.2m in 2022.

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A volatile market surge over recent months has nevertheless transformed Trump Media into a so-called meme stock, boosted by internet memes – posted, in its case, on platforms including Truth Social – urging retail investors to buy into it.

It has joined a small bevy of stocks, most famously the video games retailer GameStop, which rattled Wall Street by staging unexpected, turbulent rallies in recent years. Maintaining momentum after the initial surge has often proved challenging.

Trump has a vast stake in Trump Media, and its arrival on the market has netted him a multibillion-dollar paper fortune. When it finally combined with Digital World last Monday, Bloomberg said the former president had joined the ranks of the world’s 500 wealthiest people for the first time.

He is currently unable to offload his stake, however, and will need the stock to continue to trade at the levels to which it has surged in recent months if he is to raise billions of dollars from a sale.

Trump, who is vying to regain the presidency from Joe Biden in November’s election, is grappling with hefty legal costs. He is on the hook for $454m after a civil fraud case, although the former president was recently thrown a lifeline when a panel of appellate court judges provided him with 10 days to secure a far smaller $175m bond.

John Rekenthaler, vice-president for research at Morningstar, recently argued Trump Media was akin to a cryptocurrency. “As with bitcoin, people buy Trump Media not for future cash flows but because: 1) they expect its price to rise, and 2) they feel an affiliation for the asset,” he wrote. For Trump Media investors, “DJT shares represent a currency by which they can express their beliefs and commitment.”

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