Digital World Acquisition Corp. (DWAC), the blank check company looking to take Donald Trump’s media company public, saw its stock rise 16.3 percent to $14.40 per share March 20, after months of slumping. The increase follows the former president announcing days prior on Truth Social, his social media app, he is expecting to be arrested in New York this week. March 20 was the first day the stock markets opened following Trump’s statement.
DWAC’s board also fired Patrick Orlando, its chief executive, today (March 22), following the stalled acquisition. A series of interventions from the Securities and Exchange Commission slowed the process, and Trump threatened to sue the regulator. DWAC’s stock remained relatively unchanged following the board’s announcement today.
The arrest of a high-profile executive is rarely good news in business. But arresting Trump could drive much needed attention to his media company, which would benefit DWAC if it eventually acquires the social media platform. Truth Social doesn’t regularly publish user statistics, but website analytics company SimilarWeb estimates 5.7 million monthly visits in January, which is down from the previous two months and lower than its competitor Gab. If the merger doesn’t go through, Truth Social’s financial future could be in jeopardy.
Trump Media & Technology Group, the media company that could be acquired by DWAC, owns Trump’s social media app Truth Social. Trump founded the company in 2021, but his current position is unclear. He was at one point chairman, though the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported he left the role last year. The company denied the claim.
Since its launch, Trump has used Truth Social almost exclusively and frequently posts long rants. Investors might expect an arrest—and the noise Trump will create with it—would drive viewers to the site. It could also reestablish the former president’s relevance in the lead-up to the 2024 election, which could be good for DWAC investors if the acquisition is completed.
Trump made a racket about his potential arrest
The New York district attorney’s office is reportedly investigating a payment of $130,000 in hush money given to porn star Stormy Daniels from Trump’s lawyer regarding a brief affair. Trump reportedly reimbursed his lawyer and labeled it as a legal expense, which could be a felony.
The former president published dozens of social media posts this week about the potential arrest, often written solely in capital letters. “I FIND IT VERY HARD TO BELIEVE THAT A RACIST, SOROS BACKED D.A., WHO LETS MURDERERS, RAPISTS, AND DRUG DEALERS WALK FREE, … IS USING THE POWER OF HIS OFFICE TO PERSECUTE, INDICT, AND PROSECUTE A FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — FOR NO CRIME!” he posted online March 19.
“We’re looking at the facts and the law,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg said about Trump’s case on MSNBC earlier this month. Following Trump’s posts on Truth Social, he reportedly told staffers, “We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,” according to an internal email obtained by Politico.