Donald Trump is famous for speaking his mind, but he’s been remarkably silent as Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), the shell company looking to acquire the ex-president’s fledgling social media site, is facing a potential mandatory shutdown of its business.
On Monday, DWAC announced that it had postponed a critical shareholder meeting, another setback for a deal that has seemed doomed for months. It was the fourth time the meeting has been rescheduled.
As a special purpose acquisition company, DWAC was supposed to have completed its merger with Trump Media and Technology Group, Truth Social’s parent company, within one year’s time or liquidate its assets — unless 65 percent of its shareholders vote to extend the life of the company. So far, however, the disgraced former president has been unwilling to urge his fans who own the stock to help out, even though it would have injected over $1 billion cash into his startup.
Wall Street’s major financial institutions generally refuse to do business with Trump after his numerous business failures and so most of the company’s shares are owned by small “retail” investors, who are notorious for being unreachable.
DWAC has not released any figures for how many stock owners have cast ballots or percentage breakdowns of the received votes.
After resisting posting on Truth Social for months of its existence, the ex-president now makes regular statements on the platform but with only 4.2 million followers, his audience is much smaller than the 80 million he once spoke to on Twitter.
As DWAC has struggled to contact its shareholders about postponing the mandatory liquidation, Patrick Orlando, the chairman and chief executive of the company, has tried to enlist Trump to help.
“Let’s get the vote awareness up,” he wrote in a Truth Social post in which he tagged the ex-president’s account. It’s one of many times in which Orlando has publicly invited Trump to urge his supporters to vote to give DWAC a longer lease on life. Orlando has even resorted to appearing on a podcast popular among devotees of the QAnon conspiracy cult in order to raise awareness.
Trump Media CEO Devin Nunes, a former far-right Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has also tried repeatedly to drum up interest for DWAC.
“Can you imagine where we would be had Donald Trump not went out and created Truth Social?” he said in a Wednesday interview with a Christian nationalist streaming service. “It is very possible that maybe, just maybe, the most important creation in Donald Trump’s whole career will be the creation of Truth Social.”
Hardcore Trump supporters snapped up DWAC shares in droves after the deal with Truth Social was announced in October 2021, repeatedly sending the stock above $90 a share. Since then, however, the stock’s value has plummeted to less than $17 per share as the shell company has faced two federal investigations, a lawsuit by a former executive, and uncertainty caused by billionaire investor Elon Musk’s potential acquisition of Twitter.
While Trump has spoken out against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for not approving the deal and even threatened to sue the agency, he has done nothing to urge his followers who own eligible DWAC stock to vote in favor of extending the life of the shell company.
Orlando and his DWAC colleagues postponed Monday’s shareholder meeting until Nov. 3 but they have until Dec. 8 to complete the merger with Trump Media. If not, the company will disband and stockholders will be reimbursed at a rate of about $10 per share, a significant loss for investors who bought the stock when it was in high demand.
As the prospects for a DWAC-Trump Media merger have dwindled in recent months, Trump has begun to suggest that he might walk away from the transaction.
“The company that wants to finance TruthSocial — you know about TruthSocial, it’s hot as a pistol, it’s hot as a pistol — but this is a finance company, it’s a SPAC, it’s being targeted by the SEC,” Trump told supporters at a Michigan rally earlier this month. “Now look, if they don’t come up with the financing, I’ll have it private. TruthSocial is hot, easy to have it private. You don’t have to go through all this.”
TYT National Correspondent Matthew Sheffield reports about politics, media, and technology. Follow him on Twitter: @mattsheffield.