Donald Trump is about to become $1.3 billion richer. Here's why.

Donald Trump is about to see his fortune grow by $1.3 billion. 

The former U.S. president is set to receive a so-called earnout bonus of 36 million shares in his newly public company, Trump Media & Technology Group, as part of an incentive that was created for the company’s public market debut in March, according to a regulatory filing. 

For Trump to get the additional shares, which are on top of his current 57% ownership stake of 78 million shares, Trump Media needs to trade at or above $17.50 per share for any 20 trading days within a 30 trading day period. The stock, which trades under Trump’s initials, DJT, is marking its 20th trading day on Tuesday, which means that Trump is likely to earn the bonus — as long as the stock doesn’t plunge below $17.50 today. 

At yesterday’s closing price of $35.50 per share, that values Trump’s earnout at $1.3 billion. 

Still, Trump won’t be able to cash out the new stock immediately. He and other Trump Media executives are largely restricted from selling their shares for roughly another five months. Such lockup periods, as they’re known, are common with newly listed companies because they keep insiders from dumping shares shortly after a company goes public, which can destabilize a stock and cause it to sink in value.

With the additional earnout stake, Trump will own about 115 million shares of DJT, which on paper have a value of $4.1 billion. The windfall comes as Trump is facing increasing financial pressures due to legal judgments as well as ongoing legal expenses.

Trump Media, whose main asset is the Truth Social social media platform, has had a bumpy ride since its shares started trading last month. The shares initially surged, reaching a peak of $79.38 per share on its first trading day, March 26, followed by a weeks-long slide that spurred CEO Devin Nunes to accuse some investors of manipulating the stock through an illegal form of short selling.

At its current price, Trump Media is worth about half of its peak value. 

Trump’s small investor base

Many of Trump Media’s shareholders are individual investors and supporters of the former president. About 600,000 retail investors have bought shares in Trump Media, Nunes has told Fox Business, calling them “the most amazing part about our company.

“[W]e don’t have any institutions, zero Wall Street money,” Nunes also told Newsmax last week.

On Tuesday, Trump Media said it has informed stockholders about how to protect their shares from being used in a “short sale,” or when investors bet that a stock will fall. Typically, short sellers borrow shares of a stock they believe will lose value, and then immediately sell the shares on the market to pocket the cash. Later on, if the stock price falls, the trader purchases that stock at the lower price, then returns the shares to the trading firm from where they were originally borrowed. 

In its statement Tuesday, Trump Media said that while short selling is legal, it wants to advise “long-term shareholders who believe in the company’s future” about how to prevent their shares from being used in such a trade. That includes opting out of securities lending programs that would allow brokers to lend their shares, as well as making sure the stock isn’t held in a margin account.

The company’s base of Trump fans, as well as its stock market swings, have prompted comparisons with “meme” stocks like GameStop. These types of stocks typically attract individual investors based on social media buzz, rather than traditional financial metrics favored by investors, such as revenue and profit growth. 

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