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The biggest question about Trump’s Truth Social merger

Could the former president pay the New York fraud judgment by selling his newly minted stock?

Now that Donald Trump’s “media merger” — combining Trump Media & Technology Group (which operates the social media platform Truth Social) and the SPAC known as Digital World Acquisition Corp. — has been approved, folks are wondering: Could the former president sell the stock to cover his bond in the New York fraud judgment?

There are of course all sorts of lenders, but it is not obvious what kind would be willing to lend Trump a sum of money as large as he needs against his share in a company without significant revenue or profit — especially a company so dependent on one man.

The last time Trump had a publicly traded company — and a casino company at that — it failed spectacularly.

News reports suggest that his 79 million shares could be worth more than $3 billion, but it is very hard to predict how shares of Trump Media will actually trade. (Plus, his shares are locked up for six months, absent a waiver.)

Truth Social is losing millions of dollars and generated only $3.3 million in revenue over the first nine months of last year. So the big question for any real lender: What’s the actual business plan for the company? Would Trump donors — or followers — pay a monthly fee for Truth Social memberships?

Almost certainly, however, the merger marks the beginning of Donald Trump, Meme Stock. And as we’ve seen before, meme stocks aren’t a long-term thing.

Let’s say he gets permission from the board to sell a chunk of shares early so he can get some liquidity — that could tank the value of the stock. Unless his followers buy up those shares, not because they believe in the business, per se, but out of simple loyalty or fandom. And then they are left in the financial quagmire that's not uncommonly the fate of meme stocks.

Here’s an analogy that might help that make sense: All of his followers who buy or hold this stock while he offloads it are akin to the people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and eventually went to jail (1,000 and counting) while he watched, leaving them to fend for themselves for their legal fees while he roams free on bail, holding parties at Mar-a-Lago.

Plus, the last time Trump had a publicly traded company — and a casino company at that — it failed spectacularly. And it also traded under the symbol DJT.

This is an adapted excerpt from the March 22 episode of “11th Hour.”