Success of Truth Social a Factor

By Chanak Maduranga

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Success of Truth Social a Factor
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The conservative cable news channel Newsmax is planning to go public, and is also seeking to raise as much as $225 million in a private placement, in a push to expand its presence in both cable TV and in streaming.

The company posted an investor presentation to its website Tuesday outlining the planned private placement, as well as revealing that it planned to raise another $75 million when going public on the new York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq. The company says it has already reserved the ticker NMAX.

According to Chris Ruddy, Newsmax’s CEO, the decision to raise capital and go public is meant to capitalize on what he sees as a boom time for conservative media, sparked in part by former President Trump’s Truth Social.

Ruddy said that surprising post-SPAC stock market success of Trump Media and Technology Group was a factor in Newsmax’s decisionmaking.

“They did $4 million last year in business and they have a value today of over $7 billion, I think it is a testament that the marketplace is very strong for new media, conservative-leaning media,” Ruddy says, adding that other companies that went public, like the conservative video platform Rumble, also played a role.

And much like Trump’s company (or for that matter stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment), Ruddy is hoping that an IPO would engage retail investors, many of whom would express their enthusiasm on other platforms.

“Our plan here is that we would basically get a lot of stakeholders in Newsmax interested in promoting and growing the company, so it’s a good way of partnering with hundreds of thousands of investors across the country,” he says.

With 2024 being an election year, Newsmax is poised to see a significant jump in revenue.

“We have a lot of business activities going on, our revenues this year will be anywhere from $180 million to $200 million,” Ruddy says. “People are very sensitive and interested in news this year because of the election.”

According to the investor presentation, the company says it is targeting $181 million in revenue this year, up from $135 million in 2023. The company says its TV ad sales last year totaled $72 million, and that companies and brands like TikTok, Ozempic, Cigna, Dave & Busters and Midas have all recently joined as advertisers.

“We hope [advertising] continues growing as our audience [grows]. It’s usually a function of engagement, right?” Ruddy adds. “This year should be really good for viewership, but I think Newsmax is growing. Most cable companies are declining, but we still have room to grow. We’re in just over 50 million homes, we still could be in another 20 million homes.”

According to the presentation, Newsmax will offer 30,000 shares in a private placement to accredited investors, selling them for $5,000 each, with an option to sell another 15,000. The company says that each share will carry with it a 7 percent annual dividend.

A public offering would follow either late this year or in early 2025.

There are also challenges that the company is facing that could impact its plan.

Newsmax is grappling with defamation cases brought by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic over some of its post-2020 election coverage. The outcome of those cases remains uncertain. Fox News settled its own suit from Dominion for $787 million, and is still dealing with the Smartmatic suit. Those cases are currently set for September trial dates.

And the pay-TV industry itself continues to decline. While most analysts expect the industry to hit a “floor” of subscribers at some point, just how far it will continue to fall is very much uncertain.

Ruddy argues that, unlike traditional cable news channels — which are already widely distributed and have high fees — Newsmax can continue to grow even as the overall pay-TV ecosystem continues its decline, extracting higher subscriber fees, and adding more distribution as news and opinion become even more important to the cable bundle.

In the meantime, Newsmax will also pursue M&A. According to the investor presentation, the conservative news outlet wants to buy talk and news radio stations, local news outlets, and other media businesses targeting the 45+ demographic.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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