Mar 21, 2024 - Economy

Reddit vs. Truth Social: A tale of two social media listings

Illustration of a notification icon with a dollar sign, and a second distressed icon with a dollar sign made out of cardboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

You wait five years (since Pinterest) for a new social network to be listed, and then two — Reddit and Truth Social — come along.

Why it matters: In a curious coincidence, the two share prices — and the implied valuations — are similar. What's more, both could start trading in earnest within a few days of each other.

The big picture: The $34 Reddit IPO price, just like the $43 share price of Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC), is all about gaming the future: How much do investors think each social media stock will be worth once it starts trading?

  • In the case of Reddit, investors buying at the IPO price know that trading will start within hours.
  • In the case of DWAC, investors are assuming that it will successfully acquire Trump Media & Technology Group and that their shares will convert to part ownership of the Truth Social app. That could happen as soon as next week.

Zoom out: The differences between the two listings are stark.

  • Reddit is a smooth and familiar IPO, run by big-name banks, aimed at investors who would like to own a slice of one of the most popular sites on the internet.
  • DWAC is a shambolic special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, mired in litigation, which announced its intent to buy Trump Media in October 2021 and still hasn't managed to do so. It's aimed mainly at investors who want to align their fortunes with those of Donald Trump. There are no major investment banks involved.

Between the lines: SPACs were supposed to be a quick and easy way for a company like Trump Media & Technology Group to go public, but it hasn't worked out that way.

  • Instead, they've developed a reputation as a kind of back-door IPO for companies that probably couldn't withstand the scrutiny involved with a conventional listing.
  • Many of the highest-profile SPACs, including Nikola, Virgin Galactic, and BuzzFeed, are now unloved penny stocks.

What we're watching: To close the acquisition and be listed as Trump Media & Technology Group, DWAC first needs to win a shareholder vote on Friday. That is far from assured.

  • For the time being, it's not really a social media stock at all, it's just a box with money in it. (The money is worth about $10 per share.)
  • The market seems hopeful, however: DWAC shares rose 17% on Wednesday to close at $42.73, which implies a valuation for Trump's social network of $5.8 billion.

The bottom line: Reddit stock is a risky bet — but DWAC stock is riskier still.

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