Apr 26, 2022 - Economy & Business

Rumble may top Trump's Truth Social

Illustration of the Rumble logo on top of a pedestal.
Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Two right-wing social media upstarts, Rumble and the parent company of Truth Social, last year agreed to be taken public by SPACs.

Fast forward: Rumble remains on track to complete its merger, and possibly to build more than just a niche alternative to YouTube. Truth Social's deal is stuck in limbo, and yesterday lost its raison d'être.

Be smart: These two companies share more than political philosophy and merger structure. Rumble engineers built much of Truth Social, buggy as it may be, and last week announced that Truth had migrated to Rumble's cloud.

  • Put another way: Truth Social is completely reliant on Rumble, whereas Rumble is mostly using Truth Social as validation. It's a symbiotic relationship, but not an equal one.

Deal details: Rumble, backed by Peter Thiel and J.D. Vance's venture firm Narya, agreed in December 2021 to be acquired by a SPAC affiliated with Cantor Fitzgerald, at an implied $2.1 billion valuation. It has filed its S-4 and said the deal should close by the end of June.

  • So far the company only has disclosed financials through the end of Q3 2021, showing a $364,000 net loss on $6.5 million in revenue. Yes, the multiple is insane — but we should get a better sense when there are new numbers with what its earnings from its nascent cloud business, including from Truth Social, which it markets as an alternative to "Big Tech" stalwarts AWS and Azure.
  • The SPAC’s stock has been stable and under-the-radar; never spiking but also never falling below the $10 mark.

Truth Social, on the other hand, agreed to be taken public at a $1.7 billion implied value. That happened two months before Rumble’s announcement, but there’s still been no S-4 filing or update on an SEC investigation into the deal.

  • Moreover, company chairman Donald Trump still hasn’t used the app, months after launch. He’s now promising to do so within the week, and pledging to not tweet if reinstated by Elon Musk, but his delay has been a massive unforced error.
  • The SPAC taking Truth Social public once traded as high as $175 per share. It opened today at $36.70.

It's also worth noting that Rumble's SPAC sponsor has a track record of getting over the finish line. Truth Social's does not.

Big picture: Twitter is going private after a decade of business experience, while these social networks want to go public with hardly any.

The bottom line: Truth Social has gotten a ton of attention, including from yours truly, because of its founder and the SPAC's early price surge. But, in the end, its kissing cousin may prove more consequential.

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