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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

  • There's no PIPE financing disclosed, even though redemptions could eat into Digital World's $293 million in reserves (caveat: the SPAC is soaring in early trading, likely on retail demand from Trump fans).
  • Oh, and there's a mention of the whole thing being worth $1.7 billion, "depending on the performance of the stock price post-business combination" — without any details of what type of stock performance would trigger that "additional earnout," or if it would be Trump himself who benefits.
  • Digital World filed an 8-K this morning with the SEC, but without the customary investor presentation attached.

There is a 22-page pitch-deck on the new website for Trump Media Group, although it's much more sizzle than steak. And it looks very familiar to a deck Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reported on earlier this year (one slide is actually identical).

  • A "pre-order" option for Truth Social is available in the App Store, with a screenshot that basically looks like reskinned Twitter. The press release says the company plans to launch in early 2022, which means the company would seek to go public without a commercialized product.

About the SPAC: Digital World was formed earlier this year by Patrick Orlando, who has raised several SPACs but has yet to successfully buy a company. He did have one merger signed, with Giga Energy, but it was later terminated.

  • Its CFO is a member of Brazil's National Congress, and an ally of Jair Bolsonaro. There are no women in its exec ranks or on its board.

Spokespeople for Trump and the SPAC declined to comment beyond the press release.

The bottom line: This appears to be a shell company buying a shell company.

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Nov 15, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

New poll of Iowa voters signals Trump has edge over Biden in 2024

Photos: Scott Olson, Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The majority of likely Iowa voters would vote for former President Donald Trump (51%) over President Joe Biden (40%) in the 2024 general election, according to the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Between the lines: Independents in Iowa are giving Trump the edge over Biden, favoring him 45% to 37%, the poll published Saturday shows.

1 hour ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.