Trump secures $3.5bn lifeline in battle to pay legal bills

The former US president has until Monday to pay a $454m legal bill – REUTERS/Sam Wolfe

Donald Trump is due to be handed a $3.5bn (£2.8bn) payday as the Republican presidential contender faces a looming deadline to pay a huge legal bill, after his social media company passed the final obstacle to a Wall Street listing.

On Friday, shareholders in Digital World Acquisition Corp, a listed cash shell, voted to approve a merger with Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), the company behind Mr Trump’s social network Truth Social.

It means TMTG will join the Nasdaq exchange as early as next week. Mr Trump will own a majority of the combined company with a stake worth around $3.5bn.

Mr Trump has until Monday to pay a $454m bond to a New York civil fraud case and authorities could seize his assets if he does not pay. He must pay the bond as he seeks to appeal a ruling that he fraudulently inflated the value of his assets.

While he would not be able to sell his shares for six months, the merger of TMTG and Digital World may buttress Mr Trump’s finances.

donald trump truth social

Mr Trump posts several times a day on Truth Social, which launched as a rival to Twitter in 2021 – AP Photo/John Minchillo

The merger had faced late hurdles amid uncertainty over whether Arc Global Investments, Digital World’s largest shareholder, would support the deal. But Digital World secured enough support in a shareholder meeting on Friday.

Shares in Digital World have surged by 145pc this year, a phenomenon believed to be in part due to Mr Trump’s voters buying up the shares as a show of support.

TMTG and Digital World secured regulatory approval to go ahead with the deal last month, opening the door to the long-delayed merger.

Truth Social, announced by Mr Trump in 2021 after he left office, is similar to Twitter, from which the former president was banned after the January 6 Capitol Hill riots.

It allows users to send out short messages, reply and “re-truth” other people’s posts. Mr Trump typically posts several times a day on the service, despite his ban from Twitter being rescinded.

TMTG lost $49m in the first nine months of 2023, while revenue rose from $237,000 in the first nine months of 2022 to $3.4m.

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