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A24 Raises Significant New Investment Round, Valuing Company at $3.5B



A24, the Oscar-winning indie studio that has become an edgy brand name unto itself, is getting a big vote of confidence — and an influx of cash.

The studio said Wednesday it has closed on an investment round led by Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Thrive invested $75 million into the indie studio based on a $3.25 billion pre-money valuation. A source close to A24 with knowledge of the investment notes that the company’s enterprise valuation now sits at $3.5 billion, suggesting this round of funding will net the company a roughly $250 million total investment.

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As a part of the investment, Thrive founder Kushner will join the A24 board of directors.

The news of the A24’s new valuation and Thrive’s investment comes as the studio pushed into more commercial projects, with bigger budgets and A-list talent. There was a period, not too long ago, when the Hollywood rumor mill was convinced A24 was on the precipice of being sold. Depending on the week, it was to Apple or to Amazon. Then, in early 2022, the company announced it had done a round of financing instead — $225 million, at a valuation of $2.5 billion. Existing investors are said to have contributed to the most recent round as well.

A24 has long been synonymous with a filmmaker-first approach that has earned it many fans in a contemporary Hollywood that has only grown increasingly risk-averse. Early acquisitions included Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, the latter of which netted A24 its first Oscar-winning title.

As it became known for breaking new directing talent like Ari Aster (Midsommar and Hereditary) and Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), A24 pushed more into production with films like Zola, the X films and the best picture winning Everything Everywhere All at Once. On the television front, A24 found success producing HBO hit Euphoria (albeit A24 only takes a fee on the production) and has expanded its slate to include Netflix Emmy winner Beef and beloved Showtime series The Curse.

All of this led to the studio’s current “cool kid” status, bolstered by its ubiquitous merch that sees the A24 logo emblazoned on sweatshirts and hats worn by moviegoers. A24 has become a household name with intentionality, with the studio having long sold coffee table books, candles and other movie-inspired paraphernalia. (Earlier this year, A24 struck a deal with London-based independent publisher Mack that will see the A24 books sold in stores, a step up from its direct-to-consumer model.)

As for the box office, A24 isn’t known for massive windfalls. The movies that it traditionally releases — passion projects from first-time and auteur filmmakers, festival acquisitions and the occasional genre hit — have tight margins. While some films proved successful, there have been misses (recently, Aster’s Beau Is Afraid) and still other, smaller titles get little to no theatrical play at all.

Still, by 2022, when the studio raised its first massive round of funding since its founding, it became clear that A24 was primed for growth.

As of late, A24 executives have been asking around for the “A24 version” of commercial titles that range from John Wick to Suits, according to several sources. “What’s an A24 version of The Hills or Laguna Beach, which I truly loved just from an audience perspective? We could crush something like that,” A24 TV head Ravi Nandan told Bloomberg earlier this year.

The asks have left some in the industry, including A24’s longtime partners, confused, unsure what to make of the push into more commercial work for a company that built its brand on out-of-the-box filmmaking.

At the box office, A24 has found commercial success with genre films such as Aster’s and the horror feature Talk to Me, which was acquired out of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and fast-tracked for a sequel by the studio. But a push into an era of making more content has not been without bumps. The A24-produced HBO series The Idol was plagued with production issues, while a third season of Euphoria has remained stubbornly out of reach.

The studio recently released its most ambitious project to date with Alex Garland’s actioner Civil War. The studio placed the budget at $50 million but several sources have pegged the budget closer to $70 million. The film grossed $68 million at the domestic box office to date and over $120 million internationally. (By comparison, Everything Everywhere grossed over $70 million domestically and was produced for roughly $14 million budget.)

The studio’s upcoming slate includes the Benny Safdie and Dwayne Johnson MMA biopic The Smashing Machine, the Adam Wingard action-thriller Onslaught and a project that will pair the studio with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Outside of investments like Thrive’s, A24 has bolstered its production efforts with moneyed output deals, including the one signed at the end of 2023 that will see A24 theatrical movies air exclusively on HBO and stream only on Max. Other deals include an exclusive airline distribution deal with Anuvu and Happinet Phantom Studios covering the distribution in Japan.

Thrive was launched by Kushner in 2009 to invest primarily in Internet, software and tech companies. Its investments have included Instagram, Spotify, Slack, Patreon, Stripe and Fanatics, and it currently has about $14 billion in assets under management. In 2022, after he left but before he returned to the company as CEO, Disney’s Bob Iger joined the firm as a partner. A few months later, after he returned to Disney, Iger acquired a stake in Thrive — along with other partners — that was previously owned by Goldman Sachs.

Kushner is the son of real estate developer Charles Kushner and the younger brother of former Trump White House adviser Jared Kushner. He is also married to model and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss.

Said A24 in a statement about today’s news: “We’re thrilled to be working with Thrive Capital whose unique expertise will be invaluable in our growth. With Thrive, alongside our existing partners, we look forward to growing our support of groundbreaking storytellers and helping their voices reach audiences around the world.”

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Investment regulator imposed $14M in enforcement penalties in latest fiscal year



TORONTO — Canada’s investment product regulator says it imposed more than $14 million in fines and other financial enforcements in its last fiscal year.

The Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO) says the total also includes imposed costs and the forced return of ill-gotten profits.

The regulator says it also ordered suspensions and permanent prohibitions in a significant proportion of proceedings against individuals.

Enforcement efforts included a $2 million fine against Fortrade Canada for recommending a high-risk product to unsophisticated retail clients, and a $1.7 million fine and permanent ban on securities-related business against Paul Walker for a range of misconduct including soliciting more than $1.5 million in investments for an outside business activity.

CIRO was created at the start of 2023 through a combination of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada.

The new self-regulatory organization says it is focused on harmonizing its regulatory approach to create more consistency and timeliness with enforcement action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2024.

The Canadian Press



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Conditions on Simandou investment now satisfied



LONDON, July 15, 2024–(BUSINESS WIRE)–All conditions have now been satisfied for Rio Tinto’s investment to develop the Simandou high-grade iron ore deposit in Guinea, including the completion of necessary Guinean and Chinese regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to complete during the week of 15 July 2024.

Along with the recent approval by the Board of Simfer1, this allows Simfer to invest in and fund its share of co-developed rail and port infrastructure being progressed in partnership with Winning Consortium Simandou2 (WCS), Baowu and the Republic of Guinea.

More than 600 kilometres of new multi-use trans-Guinean railway together with port facilities will allow the export of up to 120 million tonnes per year of mined iron ore by Simfer and WCS from their respective Simandou mining concessions in the southeast of the country3. Together, this will be the largest greenfield integrated mine and infrastructure investment in Africa.

Rio Tinto Executive Committee lead for Guinea and Copper Chief Executive Bold Baatar said: “We thank the Government of Guinea, Chinalco, Baowu and WCS for their partnership in reaching this milestone towards developing the world class Simandou project.

“Simandou will deliver a significant new source of high-grade iron ore that will strengthen Rio Tinto’s portfolio for the decarbonisation of the steel industry, along with trans-Guinean rail and port infrastructure that can make a significant contribution to the country’s economic development.”

Under the terms of the transaction, Simfer will acquire a participation in the WCS project companies constructing rail and port infrastructure, commit to perform a portion of the construction works itself and commit to funding its share of the overall co-developed infrastructure cost, in an aggregate amount of approximately $6.5 billion (Rio Tinto share approximately $3.5 billion)4.

Chalco Iron Ore Holdings Ltd (CIOH) has now paid its share of capital expenditures incurred or required by Simfer to progress critical works up to completion. A first payment of approximately $410 million, for expenditures until the end of 2023, was made on 28 June 2024, and a second payment of approximately $575 million, for 2024 expenditures, was made on 11 July 2024. These amounts settle all expenditures incurred up to date.

The co-developed infrastructure capacity and associated cost will be shared equally between Simfer, which will develop, own and operate a 60 million tonne per year5 mine in blocks 3 and 4 of the Simandou Project, and WCS, which is developing blocks 1 and 2.

Under the co-development arrangement, Simfer and WCS will deliver separate infrastructure scopes to leverage expertise. Simfer will construct the approximately 70 kilometre Simfer spur rail line and a 60 million tonne per year transhipment vessel (TSV) port, while WCS will construct the dual track approximately 536 kilometre main rail line, the approximately 16 kilometre WCS spur rail line and a 60 million tonne per year barge port.

Once complete, all co-developed infrastructure and rolling stock will be transferred to and operated by the Compagnie du Transguinéen (CTG) joint venture, in which Simfer and WCS each hold a 42.5% equity stake and the Guinean State a 15% equity stake6.

First production from the Simfer mine is expected in 2025, ramping up over 30 months to an annualised capacity of 60 million tonnes per year5 (27 million tonnes Rio Tinto share). The mine will initially deliver a single fines product before transitioning to a dual fines product of blast furnace and direct reduction ready ore.

Simfer’s capital funding requirement for the Simandou project as a whole is estimated to be approximately $11.6 billion, of which Rio Tinto’s share is approximately $6.2 billion, broken down as follows.

US dollars in billions (nominal terms) Simfer


  Rio Tinto
Mine and TSVs, owned and operated by Simfer
Development of an initial 60Mt/a mine at Simandou South (blocks 3 & 4), to be constructed by Simfer $5.1 $2.7
Co-developed infrastructure, owned and operated by CTG once complete
Simfer scope (funded 100% by Simfer during construction)

Rail: a 70 km rail-spur from Simfer mine to the mainline, including rolling stock
Port: construction of a 60Mt/a TSV port

$3.5 $1.9
WCS scope (funded 34% by Simfer during construction)

Port and rail infrastructure including an approximately 552 km trans-Guinean heavy haul rail system, comprised of a 536 km mainline and a 16 km WCS rail spur

$3.0 $1.6
Total capital expenditure (nominal terms) $11.6 $6.27

Rio Tinto’s share of expected capital investment remaining to be spent from 1 January 2024 is to be $5.7 billion. Rio Tinto’s expected funding requirements for 2024 and 2025 are included in its share of capital investment guidance for this period, with project funding expected to extend beyond this timeframe.

Further details on the Simandou project can be found in the 2023 Investor Seminar presentation at

As Chinalco, Baowu, China Rail Construction Corporation and China Harbour Engineering Company are Chinese state-owned entities, and given Chinalco indirectly holds 11.2% of shares in the Rio Tinto Group, they, and WCS, may be considered to be associates of a related party of Rio Tinto for the purpose of the UK Listing Rules. Rio Tinto’s funding commitment pursuant to the infrastructure co-development arrangement (Rio Tinto share $3.5bn) is a smaller related party transaction for the purposes of Listing Rule 11.1.10R and this announcement is, therefore, made in accordance with Listing Rule 11.1.10R(2)(c).

1 Approval has been granted by the Board of Simfer Jersey Limited, a joint venture between the Rio Tinto Group (53%) and Chalco Iron Ore Holdings Ltd (CIOH) (47%), a Chinalco-led joint venture of leading Chinese SOEs (Chinalco (75%), Baowu (20%), China Rail Construction Corporation (2.5%) and China Harbour Engineering Company (2.5%)). Simfer Infraco Guinée S.A.U. will deliver Simfer Jersey’s scope of the co-developed rail and port infrastructure, and is, on the date of this notice, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Simfer Jersey Limited, but will be co-owned by the Guinean State (15%) after closing of the co-development arrangements. Simfer S.A. is the holder of the mining concession covering Simandou Blocks 3 & 4, and is owned by the Guinean State (15%) and Simfer Jersey Limited (85%).
2 WCS is the holder of Simandou North Blocks 1 & 2 (with the Government of Guinea holding a 15% interest in the mining vehicle and WCS holding 85%) and associated infrastructure. WCS was originally held by WCS Holdings, a consortium of Singaporean company, Winning International Group (50%) and Weiqiao Aluminium (part of the China Hongqiao Group) (50%). On 19 June 2024, Baowu Resources completed the acquisition of a 49% share of WCS mine and infrastructure projects with WCS Holdings holding the remaining 51%. In the case of the mine, Baowu also has an option to increase to 51% during operations. After Closing, Simfer will hold 34% of the shares in the WCS infrastructure entities during construction with WCS holding the remaining 66%.
3 WCS holds the mining concession for Blocks 1 and 2, while Simfer S.A. holds the mining concession for blocks 3 and 4. Simfer and WCS will independently develop their mines.
4 A true-up mechanism will apply between Simfer and WCS to equalise most of their costs of constructing the co-developed rail and port infrastructure. The figures shown here are pre-equalisation.
5 The estimated annualised capacity of approximately 60 million dry tonnes per annum iron ore for the Simandou life of mine schedule was previously reported in a release to the Australian Securities Exchange dated 6 December 2023 titled “Simandou iron ore project update“. Rio Tinto confirms that all material assumptions underpinning that production target continue to apply and have not materially changed.
6 Ownership of the rail and port infrastructure will transfer from CTG to the Guinean State after a 35 year Operations Period, with Simfer retaining access rights on a non-discriminatory basis and at least equivalent to all Third Party Users.
7 By the end of 2023, Rio Tinto spent $0.5 billion (Rio Tinto share) to progress critical path works. Rio Tinto’s share of expected capital investment remaining to be spent from 1 January 2024 was $5.7 billion.

This announcement is authorised for release to the market by Andy Hodges, Rio Tinto’s Group Company Secretary.

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Category: Simandou



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BlackRock Pulls Ad Featuring Trump Rally Shooter Thomas Matthew Crooks



A screengrab of Thomas Crooks from the BlackRock ad that aired in 2022.

Thomas Matthew Crooks, the 20-year-old who shot at former president Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania, had briefly appeared in a 2022 advertisement for BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest money manager.

The ad, filmed at the Bethel Park High School in Pennsylvania, featured Crooks and several other unpaid students in the background, said the investment giant in a statement. Crooks graduated from the school in 2022.

BlackRock said it has pulled the ad but the video will be available to authorities. The ad, however, is being widely shared by social media users.

“The assassination attempt on former President Trump is abhorrent. We’re thankful former President Trump wasn’t seriously injured, and thinking about all the innocent bystanders and victims of this awful act, especially the person who was killed,” the company added in its statement.

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BlackRock, whose earnings figures are expected today, has faced scrutiny after shooting incidents since some of its index funds own shares in gunmakers.

Trump Assassination Attempt

Trump survived an assassination attempt on Saturday after a gunman opened fire at him at a rally in Pennsylvania ahead of the Presidential elections. The attack left him with a bloodied face as the former president said the bullet pierced his “upper part of right ear”.

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A bystander died in the attack while shielding his family and Crooks – a registered Republican – was shot dead by a Secret Service sniper.

Trump, whose Republican candidature will be finalised today, shared a message of unity after the attack and said Americans must not allow “evil to win”. “It was God alone who prevented the unthinkable from happening,” he said on social media.

Biden, too, appealed to the nation to “lower the political temperature” in a rare Oval Office address. “Politics must never be a literal battlefield, God forbid a killing field,” he said.

The US markets are expecting Trump trades to gain momentum after the attack. It has already been pinning hopes for the return of Republicans, especially after Biden’s poor performance in last month’s debate. Those trades are likely to take deeper hold as the attack sparks a wave of sympathy and support for Trump.


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