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Shares in Donald Trump’s social media business rose 26 per cent ahead of its New York market debut on Tuesday, valuing the former US president’s stake at about $5bn as he faces massive legal bills.

Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind his Truth Social platform, surged to $63 in pre-market trading. The group completed its merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp, a blank cheque company, on Monday.

The share price, if sustained, could give Trump a boost as he faces a pile-up of legal and financial woes ahead of what is expected to be the most expensive presidential election campaign in US history.

The 77-year-old former president owns 58 per cent of shares in the merged company, which will be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker DJT — his initials.

Line chart of DJT (last price) showing Donald Trump’s media start-up soars in pre-market trading

Trump is subject to a lock-up agreement that prevents him from selling his shares for six months, but may be able to use his large stake in the business as collateral to borrow money.

TMTG has so far failed to make a profit, losing $49mn in the first nine months of last year and delivering just $3.4mn in revenue.

The approval of the deal last week and Tuesday’s listing brings to an end a drawn-out process that began in October 2021, when DWAC and TMTG signed a deal to take Trump’s media business public at a $875mn valuation.

The deal has been marred by delays and investigations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors.

The much-anticipated listing will mark the second social media company to go public this month. Shares in Reddit have shot up about 75 per cent since their debut on Thursday.

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