Trump’s social media venture says it has raised $1bn | Arab News

2021-12-25 01:32:01 By : Ms. Li Lucky

Donald Trump’s new social media venture said on Saturday it had entered into agreements to raise about $1 billion from a group of unidentified investors as it prepares to float in the US stock market.

The capital raise, details of which were first reported by Reuters on Wednesday, underscored the former US president’s ability to attract strong financial backing thanks to his personal and political brand.

He is working to launch a social media app called TRUTH Social that is at least several weeks away.

Digital World Acquisition Corp, the blank-check acquisition firm that will take Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. public by listing it in New York, said it will provide up to $293 million to the partnership with Trump’s media venture, taking the total proceeds to about $1.25 billion.

The $1 billion will be raised through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction from “a diverse group of institutional investors,” Trump Media and Digital World said in a statement.

They did not respond to requests to name the investors.

Trump Media inked its deal with Digital World to go public in October at a valuation of $875 million, including debt.

The social media venture is now valued at almost $4 billion based on the price of Digital World shares at the end of trading on Friday.

Trump supporters and day traders snapped up the stock.

Many Wall Street firms such as mutual funds and private equity firms snubbed the opportunity to invest in the PIPE.

Among those investors who participated were hedge funds, family offices and high net-worth individuals, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Family offices manage the wealth of the very rich and their kin.

Some Wall Street investors are reluctant to associate with Trump. He was banned from top social media platforms after the Jan. 6 attack by his supporters on the US Capitol amid concerns he would inspire further violence.

The Capitol attack was based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s presidential election.

“As our balance sheet expands, Trump Media & Technology Group will be in a stronger position to fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in a statement on Saturday.

The deal also faces regulatory risk. US Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure.

The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action.

Trump Media and Digital World said the per-share conversion price of the convertible preferred stock PIPE transaction represents a 20 percent discount to Digital World’s volume-weighted average closing price for the five trading days to Dec. 1, when Reuters broke news of the capital raise.

If that price averages below $56 in the 10 days after the merger with Digital World has been completed, the discount will grow to 40 percent with a floor of $10, the companies added.

Digital World shares ended trading on Friday $44.97.

Trump had 89 million followers on Twitter, 33 million on Facebook and 24.5 million on Instagram at the time he was blocked, according to a presentation on his company’s website.

Investors attending the confidential investor road shows were shown a demo from the planned social media app, which looked like a Twitter feed, Reuters reported.

Since Trump was voted out of office last year, he has repeatedly dropped hints that he might seek the presidency in 2024.

Special purpose acquisition companies such as Digital World had lost much of their luster with retail investors before the Trump media deal came along.

Many of these investors were left with big losses after the companies that merged with SPACs failed to deliver on their ambitious financial projections.

TRUTH Social is scheduled for a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022.

It is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.

In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.

RIYADH: Jabal Omar Development Co. has increased its share offer to Alinma Makkah Real Estate Fund’s manager to settle payment obligations owed by the developer to the fund.

The offer was revised from 193.07 million to 225.13 million shares with an added binding agreement whereby the fund is required to sign the offer by Feb. 10, 2022 at the latest, the company said in a filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange on Thursday. 

Earlier in September, the developer had submitted a non-binding offer to Alinma Makkah Real Estate Fund’s manager to settle its liabilities.

The real estate development company’s losses narrowed to SR345 million ($91.8 million) in the first nine months of 2021, compared with losses of SR918 million incurred during the same period last year, according to the bourse filing.

RIYADH: Saudi National Bank, or SNB, launched on Dec. 23 a framework for sustainable financing, a first for the Kingdom’s banking sector, CNBC Arabia reported.  SNB’s framework will enhance lending to organizations that apply ethical practices, while preserving the environment, empowering individuals and societies, and promoting principles of ethical governance, it said.

S&P Global Ratings advised SNB on how to align its framework with the guidelines of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA). HSBC, a leading global bank, also advised SNB on its framework. The bank said its new framework is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 as well as the Saudi Green Initiative.

RIYADH: More young Saudis are now interested in joining a career in tourism over other traditional industries such as petrochemicals and oil and gas as they see jobs related to Saudi Vision 2030 are the future, a recent study showed.

Nine out of ten young Saudis, or 90 percent, are interested in pursuing a career in tourism, compared to just over three quarters, or 77 percent, who are interested in petrochemical careers, the study made by The Red Sea Development Co. revealed.

The research, conducted by TRSDC, as the developer behind the world’s largest sustainable tourism project is known, is based on more than 850 face-to-face interviews.

They now favour jobs within the country’s strategic growth industries aligned with the Saudi Vision 2030.

Tourism is a strategic growth industry for Saudi Arabia and a significant contributor to helping realize its wider Vision 2030 plan. It is a creator of jobs, a driver of economic growth and an essential bridge between cultures that fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of this unique and intriguing nation

John Pagano, CEO of The Red Sea Development Co.

Young Saudis acknowledge the significance of the tourism sector, with over two thirds believing it will become more important for the Saudi economy over the next 10 years.

“We are only at the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s exciting transition to a new and diversified economy and future generations have a chance to play their part,” CEO of TRSDC, John Pagano, said.

Young Saudis and their parents believe in the roles that tourism and hospitality will play in the country’s new diversified economy, according to the study entitled 'The Future Faces of Tourism'.  

Thinking of joining one of the most ambitious and regenerative tourism projects in the world? If you are a Saudi recent graduate, be sure to apply to our #EliteGraduateProgram. Apply now:

Over eight in 10, or 84 percent, believe that a career in tourism and hospitality will give them the salary and resources they expect to sustain their living.

Two thirds of young participants in the survey think the sectors will become more important for the Saudi economy over the next 10 years.

Also, over 69 percent of young Saudis see that expanding tourism and hospitality industries would provide jobs for Saudi nationals.

We are proud to be a diverse and inclusive organisation and understand that to achieve our ambitions we need people who embody those values throughout the destination. By the time the Project is completed in 2030, we anticipate that the destination will support 35,000 direct jobs and another 35,000 indirect and induced jobs, representing a significant contribution to employment nationally.

Ahmad Darwish, Chief of Staff, The Red Sea Development Company

Providing opportunities for those living in close proximity to our destination is one of our goals in support of #SaudiVision2030 - ensuring that these communities are among the first to benefit from the development.

LONDON: Cryptocurrency investment is not for the faint of heart – bitcoin had another volatile year, soaring from $29,405 at the beginning of the year to as high as $67,554 on Nov. and was trading at $50,908 on Friday. Yet, 2021 was the year that more people were exposed to the world of crypto than ever before. Most famously, El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender, while in a huge development for financial markets, the first exchange-traded fund tied to bitcoin futures also began to trade. Studies show that about 13 percent to 14 percent of Americans now own or have owned cryptocurrencies. It has caught the attention of regulators in a major way. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was asked about bitcoin at her confirmation hearing. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler has called it the “Wild West.” At the beginning of the year, there was about $25 billion invested in decentralized finance projects, such as decentralized exchanges and lending/borrowing platforms. Now it’s $100 billion. The market cap of the top five stablecoins — Tether, UDS Coin, Binance USD, Terra USD, and Dai — is $152 billion. Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) moved ahead, bringing real-time payments a step closer. Leading the pack is China’s digital yuan, which came out of the testing phase as is set to launch in tome for the Winter Olympics in Beijing this February. While it is not the first country to have a CBDC — the Bahamian Sand Dollar came first – but China’s project has got other central banks moving and now 87 institutions, including the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, are exploring their own. However, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell are yet to be convinced of the need for a digital dollar. China also put itself of crypto markets by banning crypto trading and mining, forcing companies and investors to shift en masse to other countries. Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) leapt into the mainstream with the $69 million sale of NFT collage by artist Beeple at Christie’s in May. Since then, sports brands, including football and basketball clubs and brands such as Adidas, have jumped in with their own tokens that give ownership of digital images and video. US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase launched its IDO — an initial direct offering, similar to an initial public offering (IPO) but without financial middlemen — on Nasdaq in April, making it the first crypto industry firm to go public without using a reverse merger, known as a SPAC. The industry most at risk from the rise of cryptocurrencies is finance, so it’s notable how many banks started to dip their toes in the market this year. Major banks and other financial institutions started to offer crypto investments to wealthy customers while beginning to look at custody services real-time payments using cryptos or CBDCs.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is preparing 100 plants to become compatible with the applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, better known as 4IR, as the Kingdom seeks to modernize its industrial sectors to benefit from the potential opportunities that the 4IR could offer.

Under the National Productivity Program, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON, will target 20 plants which will form the roadmap for the digital and industrial transformation of the remaining plants, Saudi Press Agency reported, citing MODON's CEO Khaled Al Salem. The plants will be identified based on their readiness for 4IR, he added.

Advanced technology from 4IR is expected to generate around SR1 trillion for the Saudi economy in new revenue streams, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alsawaha said in July. The Kingdom's economy will get a boost from robotics, artificial intelligence, and wireless production models as it pushes for smarter cities and infrastructure, he added.

The impact of the 4IR is expected to be massive, with non-oil gross domestic product anticipated to increase by more than 4 percent from 2017 to 2030, Abdullah Alghamdi, the president of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) said in July.

Saudi Arabia launched a Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in July in Riyadh in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

Al Salem's comments were made during the inauguration of Saudi Arabia’s minister of industry and mineral resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, on Thursday to a number of new projects in the Dammam Second Industrial City.

The new projects include the launch of ready-made industrial factories, infrastructure sites, ports, facilities and logistics services located in the industrial city.

By supporting small to medium sized businesses in industrial areas, these projects are expected to strengthen the role of Saudi women and increase their investments in the sector, Al Salem, said. 

Founded in 2001, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON, has been developing industrial lands with integrated services. 

Today, it oversees 36 existing and under development industrial cities in various regions of Saudi Arabia and supervises private industrial complexes and cities.