(Updates with comments from Donald Trump Jr., financial details of the merger)
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES, Oct.20 (Reuters) – Former US President Donald Trump will launch his own social media app, TRUTH Social, which he says “would resist big tech companies” such as Twitter and Facebook that have banned him from using access to their platforms.
TRUTH Social will be created by a new company formed by the merger of Trump Media and Technology Group and a Special Acquisition Company (SPAC), according to a press release https://www.tmtgcorp.com/press-releases/ announcement- 20-10-2021 distributed by both organizations.
“We live in a world where the Taliban have a strong Twitter presence, but your favorite US president has been silenced. This is unacceptable,” Trump said in a written statement included in the statement.
“I’m excited to be posting my first TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with the mission of giving everyone a voice. I’m excited to soon start sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and fighting Big Tech, ” he said.
The social network, slated for a beta launch next month and full deployment in Q1 2022, is the first of three milestones in the company’s plans, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG + that will offer entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the press release.
In a slideshow on its website, the company plans to potentially compete with Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.
A Trump representative who declined to be named confirmed the contents of TMTG’s press release to Reuters. Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington also tweeted a copy.
“For so long, Big Tech has suppressed conservative voices,” former president’s son Donald Trump Jr. told Fox News in an interview. “Tonight my father signed a definitive merger agreement to form what will ultimately be the Trump Media and Technology Group and TRUTH Social – a platform for everyone to express their feelings.”
Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have banned Trump from their services after hundreds of his supporters revolted on the United States Capitol on January 6.
The protest came after a speech by Trump in which he falsely claimed his loss in the November election was due to widespread fraud, a claim rejected by several courts and state election officials.
The deal will list Trump Media & Technology Group on the Nasdaq through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp, a blank check acquisition company run by former investment banker Patrick Orlando.
Trump Media & Technology Group will receive $ 293 million in cash that Digital World Acquisition Corp had in trust, assuming no shareholders of the acquisition company choose to repurchase their shares, the statement said.
Orlando, who worked at Deutsche Bank and BT Capital Markets, has launched at least four SPACs and is planning two more, according to his firm’s website and regulatory documents.
But none of the PSPCs have yet reached an agreement. A China-based PSPC led by Orlando failed last month to close a merger with Giga Energy Inc that would have valued the transportation solutions provider at $ 7.3 billion because it could not provide the required liquidity , according to regulatory documents.
Shareholder buybacks reduce the amount of money Digital World Acquisition Corp will have to give Trump Media & Technology Group upon closing.
The companies said in the statement that completion of the merger is subject to repurchases not exceeding an agreed minimum liquidity. The statement did not disclose what the requirement is, although that detail is typically contained in a regulatory dossier expected to follow Thursday.
The deal values Trump Media & Technology Group at $ 875 million, including debt, according to the press release. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, Steve Holland and Mohammad Zargham in Washington and Greg Roumeliotis in New York Edited by Gerry Doyle)
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