Former President Trump on Wednesday announced plans to launch a social media network called “Truth Social,” and that it would go public via a SPAC.
Why it matters: Most ex-presidents are focused on their legacies, by creating presidential libraries or engaging in philanthropic endeavors. Trump, however, remains consumed by social media.
Between the lines: Details, such as who will be company CEO, are scarce.
- The SPAC is led by Patrick Orlando, who has raised several SPACs but has yet to successfully use one to take a company public. He did have one deal signed, with a company called Giga Energy, but it was called off before being consummated.
- Trump’s team initially told Axios that the SPAC had yet to file a 8-K detailing merger details. Such paperwork is necessary for any deal to proceed. A spokesperson for the SPAC later confirmed that it has been filed, apparently after hours, which means it should become available early Thursday morning on the SEC.gov website.
- The SPAC has $293 million in assets, but that amount could be reduced if investors dislike the deal and choose to redeem their units.
Details: The holding company for the app is called Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG).
- It plans to launch a subscription streaming service called TMTG+. This is the one area where we have an exec name: Scott St. John, former executive producer of both “Deal or No Deal’ and “America’s Got Talent.”
- A 22-page pitch-deck looks very familiar, and in at least one case identical, to a pitch-deck Axios reported on earlier this year.
Of note: The group says its mission is “to create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley, which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”
- Social media censorship has become one of his biggest talking points, even before mainstream social apps banned him following the Capital insurrection.
- The company says that Truth Social plans to begin its Beta Launch for invited guests in November 2021, and that a nationwide rollout is expected in the first quarter of 2022.
Be smart: Don’t pay attention to the potential $1.7 billion valuation listed in the press release. That figure is based on unspecified price increases to a stock that hasn’t even successfully listed yet.
The big picture: Trump has been trying to build an alternative social media network for many months.
- In July, Jason Miller, a former aide and close adviser to Trump launched a new social app called “Gettr.” It launched without Trump’s participation after the two parties couldn’t come to a deal.
- “Congratulations to President Trump for re-entering the social media fray!” Miller said in a statement. “Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share.”
- In March, Axios reported that Trump’s team had been in contact with FreeSpace, a small and nascent social app to build its own social network. It’s unclear what happened to those talks.
Bottom line: There are not yet enough details to suggest that this deal has much legitimacy.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from the SPAC spokesperson.