The former president’s fortune has grown from around $3.2 billion last fall to $2.5 billion today. The biggest reason? His once-moon-hyped social media business has collapsed, wiping out $550 million of his net worth so far.
In October 2021, Donald Trump was hungry for revenge. Nine months earlier, he had been banned from Twitter, depriving him of his main means of communication with his followers. His solution? Build your own Twitter. Dubbed Truth Social, it had the potential to boost Trump’s fortune by billions. As soon as he announced the plan, supporters piled into Truth Social’s special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Shares of SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp., rose from $10 to $175 in two days, implying the company was worth $22 billion, with its stake rising to $19 billion.
The hype never aligned with reality. In December 2021, a group of big-money investors promised to inject $1 billion in cash into the company, but only if they secured a preferred deal. At that time, the shares were trading at $45 on the open market. But under the deal, new investors would be guaranteed a profit as long as the shares remained above $10. In the previous estimate of the value of Trump’s stake, Forbes used that $10 per share figure and came up with $730 million.
But things have changed. Even die-hard Trump fans aren’t as enthused about Truth Social as they once were. The Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Regulatory Agency are all reviewing the company, looking at things like business activity and communications between SPAC and Trump’s business. Meanwhile, SPAC, which fired its chief executive last month, only has until September 8 to finalize the merger. To complicate matters further, Elon Musk bought Twitter in October and quickly unbanned Trump and other right-wing figures. It undermined the idea that the world needed a more conservative version of Twitter. Today, shares of Trump’s SPAC are at 92% of their highs, trading at $14 apiece, a level that suggests the former president’s belongings are worth $1.2 billion.
That still seems absurdly high. The fundamental problem is that hardly anyone uses Truth Social. Ahead of its launch, an investor pitch suggested the app would attract 81 million users by 2026. Now, more than a year after going live, it only has around 5 million. . Given that Trump owns about 85% of the company and Twitter is worth about $42 per user, the former president’s stake is likely about $180 million today.
Even that might be too much. Truth Social is adding around 100,000 users per month. If people continue to catch up at the current pace — and assuming no one quits or dies — Truth Social won’t reach its projected 81 million users until 2086. At that point, Trump would be 140 years old. A more likely outcome: Truth Social will join Trump Steaks, Trump University and GoTrump.com in the graveyard of Trump’s failed businesses.