True lies

Donald Trump's big social-media bet

Good morning, economics enthusiasts. This is your Stock Market Rundown for March 12th, 2024. Thanks for joining me today. Let’s dig in:

TODAY’S TOP STORY: TRUMP’S TRUTH SOCIAL TRADE

Donald Trump—past US president, and probable Republican candidate in the 2024 election—has more legal problems than Enron, and more accusers than Harvey Weinstein. 

But the self-described master of the “art of the deal” now has a merger in the works that could fix some of his legal woes by handing him a billion-dollar windfall. That is, if he can actually close the deal.

The story of Trump’s struggling media company, Truth Social, is dramatic enough for the season finale of a reality show. Back in 2021, Trump and his associates launched Truth Social as a “free expression” alternative to Twitter and Facebook (he was banned from both). 

The app—a Twitter clone where you can “retruth” instead of “retweet”—wasn’t exactly a hit. But now that Trump is the presumptive candidate, the prospect of Truth Social going public has meme-stock speculators salivating. 

Trump and his partners have spent the past two years trying to take Truth Social public by merging it into a publicly-listed shell company called Digital World Acquisition Corp. The deal was delayed when a few directors of the shell company got nailed for insider trading. (If this were an episode of The Apprentice, the next words they heard would’ve been “you’re fired”.)

But now things are moving forward, since the SEC just approved the plan. Now the clock is ticking: the deadline for a shareholder vote to approve the merger is September.

Depending what happens with the deal—and the election—2024 could be either the biggest comeback of Trump’s career, or just another flop spin-off.

What do you think? Chat with me in the comments:

SO WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
  • Investment bankers can breathe a sigh of relief: 2024 is poised for a strong pace of merger and acquisition activity, with deal volumes forecast to be up 50%. Time to upgrade the Cayenne to a Panamera?

  • Vespa, the favourite transportation method of Italian lotharios and ska fans living in 1991, missed expectations as the business skidded like a scooter on wet cobblestones.

  • It appears GenZ isn’t as keen on online dating as their Millennial older siblings. Bumble and Tinder have both missed estimates in recent quarters as they struggle to appeal to younger users. Are GenZ youth meeting their future spouses on the pickleball court?

  • Going after the “people who don’t open their mail” vote, the Biden administration is capping credit card late fees. Big bank CEOs were quoted as saying “oh no, this is awful” in a sarcastic voice while rolling their eyes.

That's today's scoop, friends; see you at our usual morning slot tomorrow for another round. Yours in capitalism, The Axe

 PS: how am I doing? Is there anything you’d like to see more of, or less of, from Stock Market Rundown? I value your feedback, and I read every email, so hit reply and say hello — I’d love to hear from you.

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