Digital World shares surge on merger with Trump's Truth Social

By Chibuike Oguh

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Shares of Digital World Acquisition jumped more than 40% on Monday after the blank check company said it had completed its merger with the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG).

TMTG owns social media platform Truth Social and is backed by former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Digital World shareholders approved on Friday the merger with TMTG, allowing the deal to be completed and providing a windfall for Trump as he fights legal cases against him while contesting the 2024 U.S. presidential elections.

Digital World shares rose as high as $51.80, up 40.2%, and recouping all losses from Friday's session, when it closed down 13.7%. The stock and warrants are set to begin trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday with tickers "DJT" and "DJTWW". It was last up 31% at $48.36.

The deal delivers a $300 million cash infusion to Truth Social, which had lost $10.6 million from its operations in the first nine months of 2023 on revenue of $3.4 million.

Trump, who is set to secure the Republican nomination for president, will own between 58.1% and 69.4% of the combined company. His stake was valued at about $3.3 billion after shareholders approved the deal on Friday.

In another victory for Trump, a New York state appeals court on Monday allowed a pause to his $454 million civil fraud judgment if he posts a smaller $175 million bond within 10 days, a move that blocks any possible seizure of his assets by state authorities.

But also on Monday, a New York Supreme Court judge fixed April 15 as the trial start date for Trump's criminal charges stemming from hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. The date all but ensures that Trump will become the first former U.S. president yet to go on trial for criminal charges.

(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; editing by Barbara Lewis)