Jeffrey Yass’ firm invested in a company that merged with Trump’s Truth Social
Jeffrey Yass’ firm invested in a company that merged with Trump’s Truth Social

Philadelphia-area billionaire Jeffrey Yass’ firm was the largest institutional shareholder as of December in the company, which merged with Truth Social, former President Donald Trump’s social media company.

Although the firm is a trading company that serves as a market maker for many well-known stocks, it could signal a connection between one of the nation’s most powerful GOP mega-donors and the presumptive Republican nominee. Yass is a Republican mega-donor who has never donated to the Trump campaign.

Trump who is facing a mountain of legal fees and fines stemming from lawsuits against it, will make more than $3 billion from the sale, which was green-lighted Friday by shareholders, according to SEC filings.

Truth Social, owned by Trump Media, merged with Digital World Acquisition Corp., which received investments from several other institutions and banks.

Yass’s Susquehanna has double the investment of DWAC’s next largest shareholder as of the last filing in December, but the firm owns shares in thousands of companies at any given time. Susquehanna has held the stock since the merger between DWAC and Trump Media was first announced in October 2021.

SEC reports come out every quarter, so the latest investors won’t be known until May.

A spokesman for Yass declined to comment on Friday evening.

Truth Social launched in February 2022, a year after Trump was banned from major social platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, the platform now known as X, following the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. He has since been reinstated in both, but has remained with Truth Social as a megaphone for his message.

The new company will be called Trump Media & Technology Group and trade under the ticker DJT, Trump’s initials. To enable the merger, the company went public, meaning shares of the Trump media group can now be bought and sold on the public market.

The new company’s board of directors includes Donald Trump Jr., former California Republican congressman Devin Nunes and several other former Trump aides.

If the recent activity in Digital World’s stock is any indication, Trump Media shareholders may find themselves in a mixed bag.

Many of Digital World’s investors are small investors who are either Trump fans or trying to cash in on the craze, rather than large institutional and professional investors, according to the Associated Press. Those shareholders have helped the stock more than double this year in anticipation of the merger. But on Friday, the stock lost nearly 14%.

Trump faces a Monday deadline to post a $464 million bond in a New York civil fraud case against him, or the New York attorney general could try to seize his golf course and private property north of Manhattan – or other assets.

Yass has donated more than $46 million to Republican causes so far in the 2024 election cycle, according to Open Secrets, including several of Trump’s rivals, such as GOP presidential candidates Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott and Chris Christie.

He did not endorse Trump, who trailed President Joe Biden in fundraising, in the presidential election.

But the two were drawn together during the recent congressional vote to ban TikTok. Yas’s firm reportedly has a 15 percent stake in TikTok’s parent company, and he has donated millions to the conservative group Club for Growth, which opposed the ban.

Yass and Trump met at a donor meeting earlier this month, after which Trump spoke out against the legislation. He had previously expressed interest in banning it. Trump has spoken with Yas about school choice — Yas’ biggest political interest, according to a person familiar with the matter. Trump told CNBC last week that the two had not discussed TikTok.

But the moment led to speculation that Trump, under increasing financial pressure, may have aimed to woo Yass.

The US House of Representatives voted 352-65 in favor of a bill that would ban app stores and internet providers from offering TikTok unless Chinese parent company ByteDance abandons the app. The bill’s future in the Senate is uncertain, but President Joe Biden has said he would sign it into law if it reaches his desk.

Truth Social is at least the second social media company Susquehanna has invested in. She was an early investor in ByteDance in 2012.

“Throughout my adult life, I have supported libertarian and free market principles,” Yass told the Wall Street Journal last year. “TikTok is about free speech and innovation, the epitome of libertarian and free market ideals.”

Associated Press staff writer Joseph DiStefano contributed to this article.

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