SPAC that aimed to merge with Trump Media fires CEO

·2-min read

By Geoffrey Smith -- The acquisition vehicle that aimed to merge with Donald Trump's new social media company has fired its CEO, Patrick Orlando, the company said in a filing on Wednesday.

"Due to the unprecedented headwinds faced by the Company, the Board agreed it was in the best interest of its shareholders to select a new management team to execute an orderly succession plan and set strategic operating procedures for the Company in this new phase," Digital World Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ:DWAC) said in a statement on Wednesday.

DWAC's proposed merger with Trump Media&Technology Group, the parent company of the ex-President's Truth Social platform, has been on ice in recent months as Trump navigates various lawsuits including charges of tax evasion by his holding company and, more recently, an investigation into alleged hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, a former porn star. The value of the merger has also been called into question due to Trump's readmission to rival social media sites with greater reach, notably Facebook (NASDAQ:META) and Twitter.

DWAC is only still listed because it had negotiated an extension to SEC rules requiring it to complete a deal within a specified timeframe. That extension runs through September 2023, but delays to the acquisition have already cost the company an estimated $100 million to date.

In separate developments, a Grand Jury hearing scheduled for Wednesday to probe Trump's alleged payments to Daniels was called off at short notice, according to Insider and other publications. Trump had warned his followers that he expects to be arrested in connection with that investigation, but no charges have been filed as of Wednesday.

By 13:30 ET (17:30 GMT), DWAC stock was down 3.8% at $13.12.

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