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The Trump Social Media SPAC Is The Latest Sign Of Market Euphoria

By Investing.com (Daniel Shvartsman)Stock MarketsOct 22, 2021 07:08AM ET
www.investing.com/analysis/the-trump-social-media-spac-is-the-latest-sign-of-market-euphoria-200605970
The Trump Social Media SPAC Is The Latest Sign Of Market Euphoria
By Investing.com (Daniel Shvartsman)   |  Oct 22, 2021 07:08AM ET
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2021’s Latest Historic Event

2021 will go down as a historic year in the markets, whether as a turning point, an end of a cycle, or the start of something entirely new. The resurgence of crypto assets; the rise and partial fall of the meme stock; the continuation of the bull market from either March 2020 or March 2009, depending on how you want to draw the lines; and the challenge of discerning between COVID and (hopefully) post-COVID one-time shocks and the potential onset of more permanent changes, such as the onset of inflation, all are part of 2021’s legacy.

That’s before getting into global political polarization or, in the U.S., the everchanging norms of public conversation. The new former U.S. President Donald J. Trump-associated SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:DWAC), sits in the center of both that discussion and our market moment. This week’s news of DWAC’s merger with Trump Media & Technology Group, TMTG, triggered the latest stock market explosion, as shares closed up 356% on day 1 and, as I write this pre-market Friday, are up another 55%. This excitement says something about the prospects of DWAC, but a lot more about where we are in the market overall.

What Happened With DWAC

Let’s start with the DWAC/TMTG business. I’ll try to keep my analysis politically non-partisan and focused on the business/valuation, as it were. TMTG’s pitch is somewhere in between political and apolitical – it intends to “create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the "Big Tech” companies of Silicon Valley”, and at the same time has a mission of creating a “big tent social media platform that encourages an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology.”

The company’s slide deck, which offers the main and perhaps only presentation of the business strategy, is very high level, and also bounces between two main strategies. Slide 7 states the company’s “corporate competitive structure”, which spans from TRUTH Social, a social network to rival Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), and other social media players to TMTG+, a media outlet to battle Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Disney+, and TMTG news to battle CNN and iHeart Media. They also suggest the possibility of building a full cloud and payment processing tech stack.

The next slide fairly (if a little bit erratically) shows how media is evolving (or devolving) into a more partisan model, something that has happened before in the U.S. and may be a result of overabundant information and increasing reliance on subscription revenues instead of advertising. There are then slides about how the population is growing in the U.S, how then President Trump had a large social media following, how a poll in March suggested 30% of people would use a Trump-backed platform, and how TMTG+ would be an “on-demand streaming service” for news, sports, documentaries, and “non-woke” entertainment. Most jarringly, the presentation oscillates between the big tent message (slides 13 and 17) and the draw with conservative audiences (slides 15 and 18).

The press release states that the deal’s enterprise value was $875M, and could be up to $1.7B based on shares issued to TMTG if the stock price does well. I confess to being unsure how to get to shares outstanding to give a post-spike valuation, but if we take $1.7B at $10/share, we’re looking north of $10B valuation at this morning’s pre-market heights.

Challenges Facing Trump and TMTG

I don’t think anyone can pronounce with surety whether this company can succeed, at least without betraying feelings about the parties involved, but here are a few things just to flag:

  • The business doesn’t exist yet, so it has to do a lot to grow into such a valuation.
  • While the presentation set aside the full tech stack ambitions for the future, even just building TRUST Social will take time, money, and a lot of work to gain an audience and then monetize it; the same goes even further for TMTG+ or TMTG News.
  • TRUST Social has existing competition beyond the major social media platforms; Gab and Parler have both targeted similar mission statements, including an emphasis on “free flow of information online” (Gab) and sharing “without fear of being “deplatformed” for your views” (Parler). President Trump’s backing is a powerful differentiator in this lane, but the lane is not empty.
  • As Twitter user Compound248 pointed out, DWAC’s CFO is a serving Brazilian congressman, and the CEO is also CEO of Yunhong International (NASDAQ:ZGYH), a Wuhan-based SPAC that failed to close its planned merger with Giga Energy.
  • While former President Trump has a strong following and no doubt a large email list, his social media followings at least are not portable, so it will not be an overnight thing to build back towards the numbers quoted in the presentation.

It’s possible to look at this and say, given Trump’s magnetism and following and the market’s enthusiasm, that the company will have access to capital to, say, acquire Parler and Gab and roll up that lane of the social media space, and that people tired of Facebook might migrate to a similar looking platform (look at the video towards the bottom of this page) with less oversight and more like minds, and so there may be a business there.

That’s a fair enough argument. But from that concept to a $1.7B valuation today, let alone a $10B one, is a long stretch.

Euphoria To Go Around

DWAC is hardly the only asset that’s behaved like this. This week, Bitcoin set all-time highs, and while there is fundamental news related to the approval of Bitcoin ETFs (BITO and BTF), and fundamental cases tied to the blockchain, a “digital gold” replacement case, or increasing adoption, there is still a lot of expectation built into the price. And Bitcoin is solid gold compared to smaller crypto assets like Shiba Inu, where the investment thesis rests on Elon Musk’s Twitter account.

We have plenty of bubbly things happening in the broader stock market, and bubbles popping, even among “real” stocks. This week a prominent online trader went on CNBC to tout Upstart (NASDAQ:UPST) and blanked when asked to describe what the company does. On the flipside, Snap (NYSE:SNAP) traded sharply lower after issuing guidance of “only” 31% revenue growth, a sign of how highly the company was valued (roughly 24x 2021 sales even after this sell-off). Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) has had a couple rough post-pandemic surge quarters, and is now reported to be considering a buyout offer.

And of course, GameStop (NYSE:GME) and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC) remain at what would be all-time high enterprise values if they hadn’t peaked earlier in 2021, despite revenues meaningfully lagging pre-pandemic levels and the remaining possibility that their businesses are both permanently impaired.

What It Means For Investors: Stick To What You Know

GameStop and AMC are reminders that market giddiness can last. It’s hard to find the core cause of this – Federal Reserve monetary policy, abundant COVID and Post-COVID fiscal stimulus, the ease of apps like Robinhood (NASDAQ:HOOD), the global excitement around crypto and U.S. markets, social media and discord chat rooms and echo chambers, a nihilistic view of the economy, algorithmic trading magnifying market behavior, or more indescribable factors. Wherever DWAC ends up trading today or next week or by year end, the short-term bull case rests on these factors.

For long-term oriented, fundamental investors – and I include myself in this category – this sort of market behavior can be disorienting. It seems to devalue the effort we put into investing, and it calls into question how capital markets are working, and whether they are truly efficient means of allocating capital to companies who can grow and contribute to the economy and the world.

I’m not smart enough to be worried about the broader implications of meme stock trading and the fundamental questions it raises about the market. I think for investors who stick to buying and holding stocks in good, growing companies, at cheap or reasonable valuations, this sort of market action is entertaining but mostly noise.

I also don’t know that we’re in a market-wide bubble, per se. I’ve felt the market has been expensive since 2015, and in one sense or another I’ve been wrong. It could be the economy is poised for a Roaring Twenties style resurgence, a combination of new technologies, pent-up demand, a sea change in fiscal policy, and still accommodative monetary policy. It could be, on the other hand, that inflation or a resurgence in Covid-19 or our ongoing supply chain snarls or other factors ensnare the market, and these all-time highs are as good as it gets for a long while.

But seeing craziness like DWAC, or Shiba, or the SPAC madness from earlier in the year, or other meme stocks, or prominent market participants not knowing what they own: it all raises a caution flag. There’s a lot of silliness out there, and it is easy to get caught up in it.

The antidote to all that are two classic investing and even philosophical principles:

  1. Know thyself, i.e. know what style of investing works for you and what you’ll be comfortable with
  2. And know what you own, and why you own it, and what would change your mind about it

Whatever DWAC/TMTG’s prospects actually are, the current valuation is more than formidable. Market euphoria can fade away just as fast as it rises, and if it does fade, it could take down a lot more than just the headline names with it.

Disclaimer Disclosure: I am long TWTR (a small position), AAPL, and may open a long position in PINS in the coming days.
The Trump Social Media SPAC Is The Latest Sign Of Market Euphoria
 

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The Trump Social Media SPAC Is The Latest Sign Of Market Euphoria

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Comments (30)
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Oct 25, 2021 8:11PM ET
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Daniel Shartsman is triggered
Special Forces
Special Forces Oct 25, 2021 3:07PM ET
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SPAC investing has been less profitable for individual investors. Most SPACs underperform the stock market and eventually fall below the IPO price. Given SPAC's poor track record, most investors should be wary of investing in them, unless they focus their investing on pre-acquisition SPACs.
lucky basic
lucky basic Oct 25, 2021 7:32AM ET
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am interested in your business
Nancy Pope
Nancy Pope Oct 24, 2021 7:12PM ET
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I don't really care about the government Crab since I can make money myself investing in Crypto with James Donald
Robby Jake
Robby Jake Oct 24, 2021 7:12PM ET
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That's right ☺️ glad you mentioned James Donald, I just started investing with him and already counting win
Gershom Zvi
Gershom Zvi Oct 24, 2021 3:40PM ET
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The super duper meme Trump’s stock can reach $1000 target price in 12 months for sure If all his supporters would buy plus pump people it is gonna make a new Giant stock higher then twiter and Facebook together
Anthony NotTelling
Anthony NotTelling Oct 24, 2021 3:40PM ET
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1000 by Thursday
Junk Man
Junk_Man Oct 24, 2021 7:02AM ET
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Trump and Co. Is going to make a *******with retail investors holding worthless paper.
Gershom Zvi
Gershom Zvi Oct 24, 2021 7:02AM ET
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We shall see !?
Matt Cavagrotti
Matt Cavagrotti Oct 24, 2021 6:50AM ET
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It's just traders, and a lot more of them now in the past via their ability to congregate via social media on broadband internet. They aren't in your boring, slow-moving blue chips like Intel and AT&T (S&P annual 10% average? Give me a break!). Let them do their thing and move on
Daniel Shvartsman
Daniel Shvartsman Oct 24, 2021 6:50AM ET
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Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I think that's more or less the takeaway here, but a) there are a lot of investors even who can get swept up in this sort of thing, and b) when this all fades, if it ever does, it may well hit those 'boring' companies as well.
Alex Hunter
Alex Hunter Oct 24, 2021 3:10AM ET
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New trend incoming. free social media. look for penny stocks with social media tag on them.
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us Oct 23, 2021 7:54PM ET
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Yeah ok now all of a sudden you want to start talking about market euphoria. How convenient.
Daniel Shvartsman
Daniel Shvartsman Oct 23, 2021 7:54PM ET
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Hey, I just started here! :) Thanks for the comment, it is definitely only the latest sign.
Mein Ki
Mein Ki Oct 23, 2021 7:29PM ET
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Is there anybody here to say who was the person who gave orders to Sykerberg and Tweetor to shut off Trump's accounts? Definitely is was not these characters personal desicion.
Nicholas in North Carolina
Nicholas in North Carolina Oct 23, 2021 2:34PM ET
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SPAC’s are pretty much old news and spent money. This offering feels like smoke and mirrors. Buyer beware.
Billy Foos
Billy Foos Oct 23, 2021 1:56PM ET
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Its a sign that the people see a need for this company.. We see it being bigger than facebook within a year and one day maybe even google.
Robert Cox
Robert Cox Oct 23, 2021 1:56PM ET
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If that's what you see, you may want to schedule an eye exam.
Timothy Livingston
Timothy Livingston Oct 23, 2021 1:56PM ET
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Not the eye exam. lmao
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 23, 2021 11:08AM ET
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This isnt euphoria… people are hiding koney anywhere they can to avoid losing value from inflation… if you calculate the cpi the way it was calculated in the 1970s inflation is at 15%. Who will put their money in a savings account when you lose 13% of its purchasing power and this is just starting… the next few years could lock in a wage price inflation desth spiral… thats what you shoukd be writing about
Daniel Shvartsman
Daniel Shvartsman Oct 23, 2021 11:08AM ET
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Thanks for the comments, James.  I mentioned inflation and the Fed, just not the focus here. That's a good argument for putting money into, say, commodities, and general asset price inflation. I don't think that's a direct cause for DWAC or Shiba. I'm not sure where you pulled 37.5M shares from. I suspect that's pre-deal. They announced the deal - which I believe goes at $10/share - gave the company a $875M enterprise value, with the potential to get to $1.7B. That means share issuance now for the $875M bit, and more share issuance to get to $1.7B (if the stock price remains elevated). And given they have $293M in cash, the market cap is about $2B with the full share issuance, so my numbers understated things. The main point is we don't have any data yet, just a general presentation and Trump's name. That strikes me as a high expectation. This is an analysis piece and so opinion. I hope there are enough facts to support it, but people will always disagree. That makes a market.
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 23, 2021 11:00AM ET
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This isnt market euphoria… this is a FED pump… drop trillions of liquidity into markets… what do you think happens? No where do you mention anything about inflation… this might not be a bubble yet… it may have 20% more to go… and trumps spac has 37.5 million shares only… and 70 million voted for him… and if he achieves just half the market cap of twitter… the stock price will be 1800 fair market… so you are leaving out alot of facts and writing alot of opinions
STRICKLYD trader4life
STRICKLYD trader4life Oct 23, 2021 10:32AM ET
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bubble's come and go , but the real sight is knowing when a bubble has leak's. Game of money is just that a game don't get caught without a chair to rest in after the music stops for a new song
Daniel Shvartsman
Daniel Shvartsman Oct 23, 2021 10:32AM ET
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Fair enough. If you know how to play that game, more power to you. I'm arguing one doesn't have to play. (Also, you might want to check out The Money Game by Adam Smith if you don't know it already. This sort of game has happened before).
Dan jones
Dan jones Oct 23, 2021 10:02AM ET
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Trump can pull this off without backing of big tech. Google apple has to host on there phones
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 23, 2021 10:02AM ET
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Not really… they cant block a website… but they could block an app…
David Lousada
David Lousada Oct 23, 2021 9:59AM ET
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tldr:buy prog,dwac,GME,AMC, got it
frank zapper
frank zapper Oct 23, 2021 9:12AM ET
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they better get their own servers and fast. otherwise their at the mercy of who ever runs them.
Special Forces
Special Forces Oct 23, 2021 8:45AM ET
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trumps payoff from China for NOT shutting down tictok (as he had promised) funded his merger with DWAC
frank zapper
frank zapper Oct 23, 2021 8:45AM ET
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u have proof of this id love to read it. or u it heard this on cnn ?
Cosmic Dust
Cosmic Dust Oct 23, 2021 8:45AM ET
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you can say that, but I choose not to believe.
Zinzi Siswana
Zinzi Siswana Oct 23, 2021 8:45AM ET
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Its going to be a real success A social media for the conservatives world wide which are majorityAfrica Asia Middle east are for Trump by far Hes gonna win because he knows how to disrupt
John Laurens
John Laurens Oct 23, 2021 8:36AM ET
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Many millions of Americans have been waiting patiently for this. It's going to be massive quickly.
Vinny Kuzz
Vinny Kuzz Oct 23, 2021 8:36AM ET
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Or perhaps Americans actually believe in truth over socialism, strong over snowflakes and support what Trumpmis attempting to do. Big tech has far too wide of reach and scope. But you do you and write articles that mislead like most hacks on the stock market.
Deborah Beal
Deborah Beal Oct 23, 2021 8:33AM ET
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Why invest in a company that has no revenue? You may as well throw your money out the window.
Kenton Jenkins
Kenton Jenkins Oct 23, 2021 8:33AM ET
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many businesses start in the red. most do, nothing unusual
Zinzi Siswana
Zinzi Siswana Oct 23, 2021 8:33AM ET
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Revenues arent generated instantly .. run research firm
Robert Cox
Robert Cox Oct 23, 2021 8:33AM ET
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I think you should just burn it. At least then you can be warm for a few minutes. This will never have the reach of established Big Tech. It will just be a bunch of low income people complaining about how their problems are someone else's fault.
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us Oct 23, 2021 8:33AM ET
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Kinda like bitcoin
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 22, 2021 10:59AM ET
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I bought 440 shares of dwac and dont care if it goes to zero or a million… i wont sell it ever… bought it on principle and for a starement…
Tony Huynh
Tony Huynh Oct 22, 2021 10:59AM ET
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Willing to go bankrupt to owned the libs. But it's not a cult 👍
Richard Saunders
Richard Saunders Oct 22, 2021 10:05AM ET
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Can't wait for TrumpBook to go live. Sign me up!!
莉丝 艾
莉丝 艾 Oct 22, 2021 10:05AM ET
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You are right, can I learn from you,
 
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