Trump climbs back onto the Forbes 400 richest Americans list

September 28, 2022 3:01 pm

Former President Donald Trump. [Photo Credit: CBS News]

Former President Donald Trump can again lay claim to membership in an elite club: The Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans.

Trump reclaimed a place in the business magazine’s annual list after tumbling from the rankings last year, which marked the first time in 25 years Trump hadn’t been included. The real estate investor lands at No. 343 on this year’s list, tied with other billionaires including casino magnate Steve Wynn, Campbell Soup heir Bennett Dorrance and Yahoo! co-founder David Filo. Trump’s net worth has jumped from $2.5 billion in 2021 to $3.2 billion this year, Forbes estimated.

By comparison, the richest person in the U.S. is Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has a net worth of $251 billion, according to Forbes.

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The biggest boost in Trump’s wealth this year has come from his stake in Trump Media & Technology Group, which Forbes describes as his “single most valuable asset.” The former president owns about 80% of the venture, according to the Forbes analysis. Their valuation is based on the prospect of Trump Media & Technology Group going public via a so-called special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

That SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp., is publicly traded, with Forbes estimating that Trump’s 73 million shares would be worth $730 million, assuming a $10 per share stock price for Digital World. Digital World is currently trading at a significant premium, with its shares trading at $16.60 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Forbes said it gave Trump’s stake a lower per share valuation to reflect “the discounted rate that a handful of big-money investors agreed to pay for a piece of the action.”

To be sure, Digital World and Trump Media & Technology Group’s future hinges upon the closure of a merger to complete the SPAC deal, which has been stymied by a number of factors. These include investigations by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice.

Digital World earlier this month asked its shareholders for more time to complete the merger because of delays caused by the probes. And without a sign-off from the SEC, the merger can’t close.

There’s a lot of money on the line for Trump and his business, which runs the Truth Social app. After the merger, Digital World is slated to transfer more than $1 billion to Trump Media & Technology Group. But if the merger collapses, the company may not be able to secure that funding, hanging a question mark over the valuation of the businesses as well as Trump’s stake.

Trump’s wealth also got a lift from the sale of his Washington, D.C., hotel for $375 million, which allowed him to repay a $170 million loan while keeping an estimated $135 million, Forbes said. Other deals have helped Trump build a cash stockpile of $375 million in a cash, up from $79 million last year.

Still, not all of Trump’s investments are flourishing, the magazine said. His New York City real estate holdings are suffering from the impact of the pandemic on the metropolis, with Forbes estimating Trump’s interest in Trump Tower has declined to $207 million, or $78 million less than a year ago.

Trump also faces allegations in a 221-page civil complaint filed last week by the New York State Attorney General’s office that the former president and his company engaged in a years-long scheme to enrich themselves by inflating the values of many of their properties.

Even if his properties have indeed been overvalued, Forbes noted, his assets “are still extremely valuable.”