By Medha Singh
(Reuters) -Shares of Digital World Acquisition, the blank check firm set to take former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media platform public, rose on Tuesday following his victory in the first Republican contest in Iowa for 2024 presidential race.
The stock rose 15% to $19.76 as the win strengthened Trump’s case that his nomination is a foregone conclusion given his massive lead in the national polls.
Digital World Acquisition was the top trending ticker on investor-focused social media site stocktwits.com, indicating chatter among retail traders.
“Love him or hate him, drama follows him, and the (Digital World) deal is no different,” said Matthew Tuttle, CEO at Tuttle Capital Management.
Digital World shares have lost over 93% of their value in the past 12 months as the company’s merger with Trump Media & Technology Group, parent of social media platform Truth Social, faced multiple delays since it was announced in October 2021.
While it is uncertain if the deal will go through, the company last month said it expected the merger to close as soon as the first quarter of 2024.
Trump had vowed to stick exclusively with the new platform after he was banned by Twitter following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
However, he returned to X.com, formerly Twitter, in August months after his ban was reversed by new owner Elon Musk.
Meanwhile, software developer Phunware, which was hired by Trump’s 2020 presidential re-election campaign to build a phone app, nearly doubled to 15 cents on Tuesday.
More than 150 million Phunware shares changed hands minutes after the opening bell, twice its 25-day moving average volume and the most among stocks trading across U.S. exchanges.
Shares of video-sharing platform Rumble, popular with conservatives, gained 5% to $3.55.
(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shounak Dasgupta)