Donald Trump receives $1.8bn worth of Trump Media stock in bonus

The former president has recieved 36 million shares in Trump Media, strengthening his majority stake in the company as a whole

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 01 May 2024 13:42 BST
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Donald Trump just landed an approximate $1.8bn stock bonus from Trump Media, the owner of Truth Social, bringing a silver lining to his week that would otherwise be filled with hours of court case proceedings in the criminal hush money trial.

Trump Media & Technology Group disclosed the former president’s sudden gain of the billion-dollar stock in a filing on Tuesday, announcing that he has received an additional 36 million shares in the company.

His bonus, known as “earnout shares”, came as a result of the company’s share price staying above certain target levels on the market.

Mr Trump, who was already the majority shareholder in Trump Media, now holds even more of a stake in the company – 114.75 million shares, or around 64.9 per cent of the total outstanding as of Sunday.

According to CNN, the share’s value totals approximately $1.8bn on paper at current prices – the price at close on Tuesday was $49.93. However, the share price has been continuously volatile in recent weeks.

Trump Media has the authority to issue a total of 40 million earnout shares as part of the merger deals that combined the company with a publicly traded shell corporation, Digital World Acquisition Corp.

They were only able to do this if the company’s dollar volume-weighted average price equaled or exceeded $17.50 for 20 trading days within a 30-day trading period that began on 25 March.

As this period came to a close on 23 April, the stock had not sunk below this target price at any point.

“Assuming the full issuance of the Earnout Shares, President Donald J Trump will receive 36,000,000 Earnout Shares,” the company said in a previous securities filing.

However, any shares that he owns are subject to a lock-up that prohibits him from selling them within the next six months after the closing date.

In the meantime, Mr Trump’s presence is currently required in court for the ongoing hush money criminal trial that has now continued into a third week.

The former president is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, but has recently been handed a $9,000 fine from the judge for violating a gag order on nine separate occasions.

But he is also dealing with other weighty monetary judgements against him as well as continued spending on his presidential campaign.

So far this year, two separate New York judges have ordered Mr Trump to pay out more than $500m in different court cases.

He was ordered to pay a $454m fine plus interest in a ruling that found him, his sons and his former Trump Organization associates guilty of misrepresenting assets and was also ordered in a separate case to pay $83.3m in defamation damages to writer E Jean Carroll.

Trump Media saw a recent surge in its value over the past week, but since going public in late March, its trading price has seen noticeable ebbs and flows.

The company’s stock has even led the CEO of Trump Media, Devin Nunes, to ask Congress last week if they can investigate whether “potential manipulation” of their stock could have caused its share price to plummet.

The merged company started publicly trading under the DJT ticker on 26 March, opening with a price of around $70 per share.

That day, the price rose to a high of nearly $80, seeing the company earning market capitalisation of around $9bn for a time.

However, since that momentary peak, the share price of Trump Media started to nosedive, before it made its jump upwards last week.

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