Thursday, May 23, 2024

Trump Media Stock Plummets After Volatile First Week of Trading

HomeStock-MarketTrump Media Stock Plummets After Volatile First Week of Trading

Make Truth Social great again? That may be harder than it looks for Donald Trump’s fledgling media and tech company. Trump Media & Technology Group saw its stock battered this week as shares plummeted nearly 50% from their star-spangled debut just days earlier.

The stunning selloff slashed almost $2 billion from the value of Trump’s personal stake, raising doubts about Wall Street’s appetite for the former president’s self-proclaimed “truth-telling” enterprise. So much for the market sharing Trump’s affinity for using superlatives like “huge” and “incredible” to describe his endeavors.

After skyrocketing to a peak of $79.38 when trading launched on March 26th under the “DJT” ticker, the Truth Social parent company’s shares took a truth bomb to the portfolio. They nosedived to close at just $40.49 on Friday – the concluding brutality of a 49% plunge in Trump Media’s opening week on the Nasdaq.

At those bargain-bin prices, Trump’s ownership stake dwindled to around $3.2 billion in value as of Friday’s closing bell. That represented a precipitous $1.7 billion haircut from the $4.9 billion valuation just a week earlier when shares looked unstumpable.

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For a septuagenarian businessman-turned-politician known for gilding everything in his universe with 24-karat credibility claims, the sharp reality check was as bitter as toilet-清洗剂. Even Trump’s most devoutly minted loyalists may find it hard to perpetuate the “Make America Great Again” mythology when his media company’s stock charts look like they got eviscerated by Red Wave undertow.

The abrupt downdraft hammers home skeptics’ warnings that Trump Media’s eye-popping $4 billion-plus market cap – despite negligible revenue – reeked of the same cocksure audacity that begat Trump’s doomed casino forays and various bankruptcy´littered business ventures. Turns out there’s a limit to how much Wall Street will indulge the outlandishpropositions of the former reality TV impresario, even when bundled in free speech-championing rhetoric.

“The company has no revenue,” media billionaire Barry Diller bluntly assessed on CNBC when asked about the remarkably rich valuation assigned to Trump’s decidedly unproven digital media play. Diller, the chairman of giants like Expedia Group and IAC, branded those biting on Truth Social’s stock offering as “dopes” and deemed the whole endeavor a “scam.”

Ouch…Diller didn’t hold back in torpedoing Trump’s upstart with the same brutal directness The Apprentice star himself has long embraced as a signature communication style. And the Trump camp returned fire with equal flame, with a spokesperson accusing critics like Diller of being “die-hard Trump haters and leftwing flacks” trying to “suppress” Truth Social’s mission of unfettered free speech.

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So the battle lines are clearly drawn in this hot-button financial melee pitting Trump’s multimedia ambitions against Silicon Valley’s tenured elite. Love him or violently rebuff him, the 45th U.S. president retains an uncanny talent for injecting sensationalism and division into whatever sphere he orbits.

For all the fireworks and provocations surrounding Trump Media’s trading commencement, one awkward fact remains: The company revealed it lost $58 million last year while scraping together just $4.1 million in revenue. That’s not exactly a TruthBomb-worthy performance for a $4 billion enterprise developing a fledgling social network and aligned streaming service branded as a free speech refuge.

Trump Media will need to prove it can convert the mercurial former president’s personal brand pillars – nationalism, grievance, polarization – into actual user engagement and paying subscribers. Not necessarily an easy formula when courting mainstream acceptance in the brutally competitive social-tech arena dominated by deep-pocketed giants like Meta and Google.

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Hanging heavy over the company’s monetization quest is whether major advertisers and creators will feel comfortable co-branding with such a politically-charged platform born from rage over Trump’s polarizing words and behavior. Brand safety risks abound for corporations seeking to sidestep Twitter-esque backlash tornadoes for amplifying hate speech and misinformation.

None of which has stopped Trump from singing his company’s praises and lobbing buckshot at naysayers questioning whether Truth Social’s value proposition extends beyond just preaching to the MAGA chorus. “Incredible numbers, the real story is being moving forward at warp speed,” Trump effused to rally investors after the rocky market premiere.

Whether casting himself as disruptive tech visionary or righteous martyr for uncensored discourse, Trump seems determined to fight like a junkyard pitbull against accusations that his media group amounts to little more than a money-losing vanity project. To skeptics like Diller, the jury’s still out on separating Truth from agitprop hype.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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