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Trump to receive bonus worth $1.2bn for Trump Media stock performance

<span>Opening day saw the value of Trump Media & Technology Group stock at almost $80; as of Tuesday it was trading at $32.57.</span><span>Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters</span>
Opening day saw the value of Trump Media & Technology Group stock at almost $80; as of Tuesday it was trading at $32.57.Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

Former president Donald Trump qualified for a bonus worth $1.2bn after shares in his social media company remained above a certain value despite falling sharply.

Related: Trump has dodged financial calamity – for the time being | Lloyd Green

Trump is poised to receive 36m additional shares in Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), owner of his Truth Social platform, under an “earn-out” windfall which boosts the paper value of his stake in the business to about $3.7bn.

He was able to receive the bonus if TMTG’s stock traded above $17.50 a share for 20 days out of any 30-day period within the first three years of the firm’s stock market debut – a milestone it reached after closing at $32.57 on Tuesday.

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Trump’s shares in his social media company have offered him a financial lifeline as he faces about $500m in legal penalties after being found liable in civil fraud, defamation and sexual abuse cases. While he cannot sell his stock until September due to the terms of a lockup agreement, the shares’ fluctuating value have at times made him one of the world’s wealthiest people on paper.

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After a stunning landing on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange, the value of Trump’s social media company – which trades as DJT – has fallen drastically. The stock hit a high of almost $80 on its opening day, but declined in fits in the following weeks.

Trump Media’s CEO, Devin Nunes, has suggested that short sellers betting on the loss of value may have been responsible for manipulating the stock.

Shares in Trump Media tanked further last week, falling 12% after the company revealed it could sell millions of additional shares in the coming months. They fell another 8% on Tuesday, even as they enabled Trump to qualify for his earn-out shares.

The company has also faced political scrutiny over the firm’s financial backers. A Democratic-aligned group issued a call earlier this month for lawmakers to investigate the company over allegations of influence peddling, after the Guardian reported that a Russian-American businessman under federal criminal investigation helped prop up the company.

Truth Social has become a personal soapbox for Trump to issue statements to his supporters since its launch in 2022. While its user base is tiny compared with more established social networks, such as X (formerly Twitter), the platform has outgrown other rightwing apps.

Trump is now on trial in a Manhattan courtroom, with prosecutors alleging that he sought to undermine the 2016 presidential election through making illegal hush-money payments to cover up his affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump’s defense lawyers have maintained he is innocent of all 34 felony counts of falsifying business documents, in what is the first criminal trial of a former president in US history.