Trump-related SPACs surge, then fall, as retail investors have their own Joe Rogan experience
Joe Rogan’s podcast future is up in the air, and — for a few hours on Monday — so were the stock prices of some MAGA SPACs.
Shares in CF Acquisition Corp VI CFVI, +18.17% soared as high as 39.7% in late-afternoon trading as investors began to ponder the possibility that the controversial comedian would accept an offer to take his show and his 11 million listeners from Spotify SPOT, -1.67% — where he has come under attack for sharing COVID misinformation and past use of racial slurs — to online video platform Rumble, which is popular among conservatives loyal to Donald Trump.
Rumble announced in December that it planned to go public via a merger with CFVI to be completed in 2022, and retail investors in particular appeared eager to trade on Monday’s news.
The invite was tweeted out just after 11 a.m. Eastern time, and appeared to show a letter from Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski to Rogan, offering the embattled host a $100 million contract equal to the one he currently has at Spotify, and pledging not to take his old shows down like Spotify did over the weekend, acknowledging Rogan’s racist language and other issues.
“How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both old and new, with no censorship, for 100 million bucks over four years?” Pavlovski proposed. “This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit.”
CFVI stock shot up almost 11% in the minutes after Rumble’s tweet, and the causality did not go unnoticed.
On Reddit, retail investors appeared to be part of a surge into the name based on Rumble’s offer.
“I’m buying more tomorrow,” wrote one user on subreddit r/CFVI. “What say you.”
“I’m heavy on cfvi have been since the spac dropped but there is wayyyy to many variables to be even having this discussion [right now]..” cautioned another, before also offering: “That being said if rogan does end up on rumble we will be able to retire.”
But CFVI wasn’t the only SPAC moving up on MAGA news sentiment. Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. DWAC, -0.67% were also up big on Monday, popping 14.6% as late as mid-afternoon.
DWAC, which is still in the throes of a merger with Trump Media & Technology Group, a new project from the former president, was still burning on momentum that TRUTH Social, the long-delayed social-media app that will be the first actual product from TMTG, may finally debut on Feb. 21.
The Rogan news did not appear to have as much as an immediate effect on DWAC shares, despite Rumble having signed on as a future video partner for TMTG, once Trump and his team actually build a platform.
And because things are more “phun” in threes, shares in MAGA-friendly mobile software outfit Phunware PHUN, +16.54% were up almost 33% in Monday afternoon trading.
But then things appeared to shift, and it was not because investors began to realize that Rogan — who still manages to find a somewhat bipartisan audience — was unlikely to break his lucrative contract with a massive content platform to politicize himself on a much, much smaller one.
In fact, around 3 p.m. Monday, the bottom appeared to fall out of the Rogan/MAGA trade on news that TRUTH Social was once again delayed.
CFVI gave up almost half its momentum to close up just over 18%, while DWAC cratered 12.5% in the last half hour of trading to close down 0.7%.
But while TRUTH appears delayed until the end of March, Tuesday will present another chance for the MAGA basket to make a run based on hopeful analysis.
After news broke that investor Peter Thiel will resign from the board of Meta Platforms (nee Facebook) FB, -5.14% in the coming weeks, speculation began to spread anew that a famous person’s machinations were good news for the far-right media sector.
Thiel, a vocal Trump supporter and Silicon Valley iconoclast, will reportedly spend more time focusing on Trump’s political agenda during the 2022 midterm election season. The billionaire is also an investor in Rumble, a fact that was not lost on social-media retail investors.