Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a deal that would enable him to regain a social media presence after he was kicked off Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. platforms.
The former president’s new enterprise will be in operation by the first quarter of 2022, according to a press release from the Trump Media and Technology Group. It says it plans to start a social media company called Truth Social. The moves, if all goes according to plan, would occur well ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections.
The release added that the company would be publicly traded through a merger with another firm called Digital World Acquisition Corp. Trump has long signaled aspirations to start a social media company after he was booted from Twitter and Facebook. Earlier this year, he abandoned a website blog where he posted statements after it attracted relatively few readers.
Besides the social network planned for the first quarter of 2022, the company said it also proposes a subscription video on-demand service, according to the release.
Digital World Acquisition shares jumped 49% in U.S. premarket trading on Thursday, having doubled earlier.
Trump, who has teased that he might run again in 2024 without making any formal announcement, has been banned by major social-media companies for his role in encouraging supporters who broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as both houses of Congress were meeting to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
Twitter has barred Trump permanently, and Facebook announced earlier this year that he would remain suspended from its networks for at least two years and would be reinstated in 2023 only if “the risk to public safety” has subsided.
Trump has been looking to recapture the ability to connect with supporters, raise money and drive news coverage that he lost with his access to social-media platforms, especially Twitter. During his presidency, Trump relied on Twitter for everything from insulting rivals to major policy announcements.
Without social media, Trump had been relegated to issuing press releases—which he often does multiple times a day in a format similar to his tweets—holding campaign-style rallies and giving interviews to friendly media outlets.
Patrick Orlando is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Miami-based special purpose acquisition company, Digital World Acquisition, according to its filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Orlando has been involved in several blank-check companies, including serving since January 2020 as CEO of Yunhong International, which is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol ZGYH and is based in Wuhan, China, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings including those by Yunhong International.
—With assistance from Sam Unsted and John Viljoen.
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