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But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes

FILE – This Nov. 3, 2014, file photo, shows a plaque bearing the likeness of Donald Trump at the entrance to the Trump Taj Mahal Casino resort in Atlantic City N.J. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has revealed in documents filed with federal securities regulators that he sold the shuttered Taj Mahal, which the now-president of the United States built for $1.2 billion in 1990, for $50 million to Hard Rock International, or about 4 cents on the dollar from what Trump spent on it. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Where Trump’s new IPO is headed is not hard to determine:

Donald Trump’s social media company could go public as soon as next week, paving the way for a potentially huge windfall for a former president who raked in tens of millions of dollars the last time one of his companies was listed on a stock exchange.

That previous, decades-ago experience, however, did not end well for the company or its investors. While a 2016 Washington Post review found that Trump made over $44 million, the company — Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts — lost more than $1 billion and ended up in bankruptcy.

This time around, there’s at least one similarity between the two ventures separated by decades. The newly merged company that’s set to go public, Trump Media, will be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange with the letters DJT, Trump’s initials. Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts used the same stock ticker when it went public with great fanfare in 1995.

“It’s going public and we’re really very happy about it,” Trump told reporters almost 30 years ago. “It’s going to be a great day.”

The Atlantic City, New Jersey, company lost money every year, but its stock prices did well — for a time. In the initial public offering, the company raised $140 million, selling 10 million shares at $14 each.

By 1996, the stock reached a high of $35 a share before plummeting later that year, in part because the company bought another casino for $100 million more than its estimated $400 million value, The New York Times reported in 2016.

The company, meanwhile, kept bleeding cash. The year the stock peaked, it lost $66 million. In 1999, it lost $134 million. And in 2004 — when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange — it lost $191 million, according to a CNBC review.

I was one of the people who used to make fun of Trump being someone who could lose money running a casino. But what I failed to understand is that Trump himself made plenty of money from his casino “business,” it was the investors left holding the bag from the bust-out that got taken to the cleaners. The key here, presumably, is the initially strong performance of the stock — con artists depend to some degree on greedy people who might also think they can also profit from the scam as well as by pure marks.

As for whether will be little bits of history repeating, well:

Truth Social was able to buck the trend. The company will now get the nearly $300 million held by Digital World to try to grow its business, which has posted about $5 million in sales and tens of millions of dollars in losses since its launch.

I would give anyone who would invest in this IPO a caveat emptor, except they wouldn’t know what to do with it if they got one.

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