Triller Completes Pre-Public Listing Financing Plans For Q4, 2022 NASDAQ listing:ILLR, Also completes Acquisition of Bare Knuckle Fight Championship

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Triller, the AI–powered open garden technology platform for creators, today announced it had completed a substantial pre–public financing in the form of debt and equity. This announcement comes on the heels of its filing its S–1 with the SEC, the document a company files prior to a public listing. The company has reserved the ticker symbol "ILLR" with the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Participants in the round include Total Formation Co, an affiliate of Fubon Financial, one of the largest financial institutions in Asia with ownership of Taiwan Mobile, Taipei Fubon Bank, Fubon Life, and many others, and was for the third straight year on Fortune Global 500's list of "The Top 500 most valuable Global Brands. Other investors included, Falcon Capital, Clearvue Partners and others.

"This was an important step for Triller to be properly funded entering the Public Markets," said Mahi de Silva, CEO and Chairman of Triller. "We are very pleased to have such strong market leaders as investors and look forward to bringing Triller to the world via a Nasdaq listing," he continued. "If the capital markets continue to be stable, we are targeting an early Q4 public listing."

Triller also announced that it concluded the acquisition of of Bare Knuckle Fight Championship (BKFC), a transaction it announced it had contracted earlier this year.

Bare Knuckle has quickly become a world–wide phenomenon with deals consummated or in negotiations across more than 20 countries, and an unprecedented growth in the United States. BKFC is the fastest growing combat sport with an anticipated 200,000 subscribers between the BKFC app and Triller's wholly owned Fite TV.

"Bare Knuckle Fight Championship has enjoyed never before seen growth, as it offers something that all fight audiences can connect with," said Mahi de Silva CEO and Chairman of Triller. "This acquisition is a game–changer for Triller, as it accrues numerous synergies across our entire platform and allows us to supercharge BKFC even further," continued Silva. "By leveraging our creator platform, combined with our social media infrastructure, ad–tech and mar–tech capabilities, influencer network, and FITE TV's streaming services currently enjoyed by five million paying households, makes this acquisition a no brainer for both parties."

The announcement comes in the wake of BKFC's most successful, largest event–to–date, held on August 22 at Wembley Arena in London. This past weekend BKFC had its most successful event to date at Wembley Stadium in London, and trended number 2 in the world on Twitter. As a result, the digital streaming, pay–per–view, and subscription service FITE.TV by Triller, now has over 200,000 subscribers.

"I started BKFC from scratch and it has become a way of life, and will forever change boxing and MMA," said Dave Feldman, Founder and CEO of BKFC. "We spent over a year working with Triller prior to the acquisition, getting to know their team, their plans and the way in which BKFC would be integrated into their ecosystem. What became clear is that Triller was the only home for us. They are not seeking to change BKFC but will help supercharge our growth, maximizing our marketing and monetization. I can say without hesitation there is no company out there that has both the ambition and the tools of Triller to change the ways people consume combat sports," Feldman concluded.

As the world of social media and the way in which brands market are changing dramatically, Triller has led the way to Web3 and decentralization with a "open–garden" ecosystem, helping creators gain ownership of their audiences, control their monetization and financial destiny. Triller saw over 750 million content interactions last quarter and looks at each interaction as an opportunity for monetization.

While the financial terms were not disclosed, the transaction involved a combination of cash and stock for majority ownership of BKFC.

Triller recently filed a confidential S1 with the SEC and expects to become publicly traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker "ILLR" during the 4th quarter of this year.

"Triller is now the only company in existence which owns and controls the entire pipe from beginning to end," said de Silva. "Starting with the content creators, which includes fighters, the events, the actual production, and broadcast to the users themselves through Triller's Fite Tv 5 million plus paying households and we believe quickly will become the most valuable brand in combat sports.

"We want to thank our partners, investors and supporters whom to date have helped supercharge Triller from a startup in 2019 to a household name today, having raised over $300 Million Dollars, supporting over 750 million monthly interactions and over 300 million users across all of its platforms. We have only just begun."

About Triller
Triller is the AI–powered open garden technology platform for creators. Pairing music culture with sports, fashion, entertainment, and influencers through a 360–degree view of content and technology, Triller encourages its influencers to post the content created on the app across different social media platforms and uses proprietary AI technology to push and track their content virally to affiliated and non–affiliated sites and networks, enabling them to reach millions of additional users. Triller additionally owns VERZUZ, the live–stream music platform launched by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland;, a leading customer engagement platform; FITE, a premier global PPV, AVOD, and SVOD streaming site; and Thuzio, a leader in B2B premium influencer events and experiences.

About BKFC
Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) is the first promotion allowed to hold a legal, sanctioned, and regulated bare knuckle event in the United States since 1889. Based in Philadelphia and headed by President and former professional boxer David Feldman, BKFC is dedicated to preserving the historical legacy of bare knuckle fighting while utilizing a specifically created rule set that emphasizes fighter safety. BKFC will hold all its bouts in a revolutionary circular four–rope ring, designed to encourage fast–paced and exciting bouts. The patented BKFC “Squared Circle” contains scratch lines, based on the Broughton Rules, which governed bare knuckle fighting in the 19th century, and which requires fighters to “Toe the Line”: start every round face to face, and just inches apart.

In BKFC, only those fighters who are established professionals in boxing, MMA, kickboxing, or Muay Thai will be allowed to compete. The referees and judges will also be required to have extensive professional combat sports experience. All fights will be held under the auspices and control of an Athletic Commission. Unlike other fighting organizations and combat sports internationally which claim to be “bare knuckle”, but require wraps, tape, and gauze; BKFC is true to its word as fighters are not allowed to wrap their hands to within one inch of the knuckle. This makes BKFC unquestionably the truest form of bare knuckle fighting. BKFC is dedicated to not just creating the safest, most exciting, and highest–level bare knuckle fighting organization in the world; it's also leading the way for a new, fully recognized professional combat sport. BKFC is truly the sport of the future.

No Offer or Solicitation
This press release shall not constitute a solicitation of a proxy, consent, or authorization with respect to any securities or in respect of the proposed business combination. This press release shall also not constitute an offer to sell, the solicitation of an offer to sell or an offer to buy or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or a solicitation of any vote or approval, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

Forward–Looking Statements
Except for the historical information contained herein, certain of the matters discussed in this communication constitute "forward–looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, both as amended by Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "anticipates," "believes," "expects," "intends," "will," "should," "may," "could," "plan" and the negative of such terms and variations thereof and words and terms of similar substance used in connection with any discussion of future plans, actions or events identify forward–looking statements. Forward–looking statements are not statements of historical fact and reflect Triller's current views about future events. Such forward–looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the proposed business combination and other contemplated transactions (including statements relating to satisfaction of the conditions to and consummation of the proposed business combination, the amount, timing, terms or ultimate issuance of Triller's convertible notes, the expected ownership of the combined company, the expected trading value of the combined company's shares of common stock, the expected timing and likelihood of completion of the business combination, the expected value of Triller and of the combined company and opportunities relating to or resulting from the business combination), and statements regarding the nature and commercial success of Triller and the combined company, commercialization and marketing capabilities and strategy of Triller and the combined company, developments and projections relating to the industry, the parties' ability to protect their intellectual property positions, plans, objectives, expectations and intentions of Triller and the combined company and the effects of having shares of capital stock traded on Nasdaq. No assurances can be given that the forward–looking statements contained in this communication will occur as projected, and actual results may differ materially from those projected. Forward–looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates, and assumptions that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation: risks relating to the completion of the business combination, including the need for stockholder approval, the satisfaction of closing conditions and the timing to consummate the proposed business combination; the completion of the offering of Triller's convertible notes; potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships resulting from the announcement or completion of the proposed business combination; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; the risk of litigation related to the proposed business combination; the success and timing of regulatory submissions; regulatory requirements or developments; and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" in filings made with the SEC from time to time. Forward–looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management at the time the statements are made. Triller undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward–looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward–looking statements that speak only as of the date hereof.

Will the Diplomat, Accused of Rape, be Prosecuted at Home?

The UN General Assembly in session, with diplomats from 193 countries. Credit: UN Photo/Manuel Elias

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Aug 29 2022 – When UN diplomats are charged with civil or criminal offenses – from traffic violations to sexual abuse — they avoid prosecution and civil law suits under cover of diplomatic immunity.

It’s a privilege exercised by diplomats worldwide—including US diplomats in overseas postings.

In the 1970s and 80s, there were diplomats from several financially-ailing member states, who were cut-off from their cash-starved home countries, and unable to pay their rents and phone and electricity bills—plus their UN membership dues.

The landlords who had bitter experiences fighting tenants over unpaid rents and damages to their apartments avoided diplomats as tenants because they were protected by diplomatic immunity and couldn’t be dragged into Small Claims Court.

So, at least in one New York City apartment building, the landlord had a sign which read: “Dogs and Diplomats Not Welcome.”

But last week it was a more serious offense—by an envoy from South Sudan, accredited to the UN, who was accused of rape, an allegation made by a neighbor in a Manhattan apartment building.

But he claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution by New York City police.

The immunity can be waived only by the country which accredited the diplomat to the UN—or in the alternative, the US could declare the diplomat persona non grata (PNG).

In international diplomacy, PNG is a status applied by a host country to foreign diplomats to remove their protection of diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution.

But South Sudan went one better: it recalled its ambassador.

A letter, dated August 25, from South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, a copy of which was obtained by IPS, says “It is with regret that our diplomat was involved in an alleged rape incident with one of New York City residents”.

“The leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation took the decision to immediately recall the diplomat in question, pending a full investigation from a specialised committee. The. The diplomat in question is now back in South Sudan and has been suspended from his duties, awaiting the outcome of this investigation.”

The letter also says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the government of South Sudan’s, and indeed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ position that sexual misconduct in any shape or form is heinous end wholly unacceptable.”

“As a government, we have worked tirelessly since our inception to ensure that the rights of women and girls are protected. The Ministry of Public Service has worked with civil servants across the country to carry out sensitivity trainings”.

Beyond ratifying regional and international instruments for the protection of women and girls, the letter says, “we have also worked to receive direction from our gender and youth cluster to practically implement these instruments across the country. because it is our belief that living a life devoid of gender-based violence and indeed the threat of it, is a right for all.”

“The mandate of our foreign missions is two-fold. To both protect the interests of South Sudanese citizens abroad and to promote strong bilateral relations with our host countries. It is regretful that in this alleged instance, the latter has been jeopardized. We are committed to working closely with the relevant US authorities to take appropriate action, following the outcome of all investigations,“ says the letter, in an attempt at damage control.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and indeed the extended government of South Sudan stands with victims of pf sexual assault everywhere and is committed to continuing to safeguard all those at risk of sexual violence”, the letter adds.

Antonia Kirkland, Global Lead, Legal Equality and Access to Justice at Equality Now, told IPS: “We welcome South Sudan’s acknowledgment of the seriousness of these rape allegations against one if its UN diplomats”.

The status of an individual — regardless of whether they are a diplomat, a head of state, royalty, or a UN employee — should not be an excuse for impunity or misused to shield someone from facing justice if they have committed an act of sexual violence or other serious crime, she pointed out.

“In cases involving sexual violence, diplomatic immunity should not be invoked and allegations must be effectively investigated and prosecuted, and convicted perpetrators punished. It is also vital that victims are fully supported and receive the justice they deserve and to which they are entitled”.

“Consistent with its stated internal commitment to survivors of criminal sexual harassment by its own employees and intention to waive immunity in such cases, we hope the UN is encouraging South Sudan to cooperate closely with the US and authorities in New York to ensure the case is fully investigated,” said Kirkland.

If the findings indicate that the rape allegations are credible, South Sudan should uphold the rule of law and ensure the case goes to court, and if he is found guilty, ensure he is punished accordingly, she declared.

Asked about the accusations, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters August 23: “We’re aware of this. We’ve seen the press reports. I think this is an issue having to do, as you said, — I think there had been some early misreporting on it — not with anyone who is working for the United Nations but a member of the diplomatic corps.”

“I think any alleged rape or sexual assault needs to be fully investigated. This is a particular issue between the Member State and the US Government, but we’ll keep an eye on it’, he added.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Argentina Seeks Elusive Investment to Fully Exploit Shale Gas

A view of two towers in Vaca Muerta, the field whose discovery gave Argentina huge potential in shale gas and oil. Since 2011, governments have dreamed of fully exploiting it, but have been unable to do so, so the country spends billions of dollars annually on imports of gas. CREDIT: Energy Secretariat

A view of two towers in Vaca Muerta, the field whose discovery gave Argentina huge potential in shale gas and oil. Since 2011, governments have dreamed of fully exploiting it, but have been unable to do so, so the country spends billions of dollars annually on imports of gas. CREDIT: Energy Secretariat

By Daniel Gutman
BUENOS AIRES, Aug 29 2022 – Argentina, which has one of the largest unconventional hydrocarbon deposits in the world, has been forced to import gas for 6.6 billion dollars so far this year.

The main reason for this paradox -which aggravated the instability of the economy of this South American country- is the lack of transportation infrastructure.

In a public ceremony on Aug. 10, President Alberto Fernández signed the delayed contracts for the construction, for more than two billion dollars to be financed by the State, of a modern gas pipeline aimed at bridging that gap.

The objective is to bring a large part of the natural gas produced in Vaca Muerta to the capital, Buenos Aires, home to nearly a third of the 47 million inhabitants of this Southern Cone country.

Vaca Muerta is a geological formation with an abundance of shale gas and oil, located in the southern region of Patagonia, more than 1,000 kilometers from Buenos Aires.

The name Vaca Muerta has been on the lips of recent Argentine presidents as a symbol of the better future that awaits a country whose economy suffers from a chronic lack of foreign exchange and a weakened local currency, resulting in a poverty rate of around 40 percent of the population.

This has been the case since 2011, when the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Vaca Muerta makes Argentina the country with the second largest shale gas reserves, behind China, and the fourth largest oil reserves.

Vaca Muerta has reserves of 308 trillion cubic feet of gas and 16.2 billion barrels of oil, according to EIA data, confirmed by Argentina’s state-owned oil company YPF.

“With Vaca Muerta, Argentina has the potential not only to achieve energy self-sufficiency but also to export. We are missing a huge opportunity,” said Salvador Gil, director of the Energy Engineering program at the public National University of San Martín, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Gil told IPS that Argentina could play an important role, given the crisis of rising energy prices driven up by the war in Ukraine, which threatens to drag on.

But to do so, it must solve not only its transportation problems, but also the imbalances in the economy, which for years have hindered the influx of large investments in the country.

“Today, what the world needs is energy security and Argentina has gas, which has been identified as the main fuel needed for the transition period towards clean energies, in the context of the fight against climate change,” the expert said.

Argentine President Alberto Fernández, flanked by Economy Minister Sergio Massa (left), and the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, signed a contract for the construction of the gas pipeline that will expand the capacity to transport natural gas produced in the Vaca Muerta field to the capital. It is considered a key project for the Argentine economy. CREDIT: Casa Rosada

Argentine President Alberto Fernández, flanked by Economy Minister Sergio Massa (left), and the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, signed a contract for the construction of the gas pipeline that will expand the capacity to transport natural gas produced in the Vaca Muerta field to the capital. It is considered a key project for the Argentine economy. CREDIT: Casa Rosada

More foreign dependence

However, since 2011, when the EIA made public its first data on Vaca Muerta’s potential, which led politicians and experts to start dreaming that Argentina would in a few years become a kind of Saudi Arabia of South America, the country is in fact more and more dependent from the energy point of view.

A study of the period 2011-2021 released this year by a private think tank states that “the decade was characterized by an increase in Argentina’s external dependence on hydrocarbons: gas imports increased by 33.6 percent over the decade while diesel imports grew by 46 percent and gasoline expanded 996 percent.”

The document, published by the General Mosconi Energy Institute, points out that Argentina, which until the end of the 20th century enjoyed self-sufficiency in gas and oil, began to experience a considerable decrease in production in 2004.

Two years later, gas began to be imported by pipeline from Bolivia and in 2008 liquefied natural gas (LNG), brought by ship mainly from the United States and Qatar, started to be imported.

“Since then, the proportion of imported gas out of the total consumed in the country has grown. In 2009 it represented only six percent, rising to 22 percent in 2014. In 2021 it represented 17 percent of the total,” the report states.

Still far below its real potential, Vaca Muerta’s production has been growing. In June it contributed 56 percent of the 139 million cubic meters per day of natural gas produced in Argentina, according to official data.

Gas is the main fuel in the country’s energy mix, accounting for about 55 percent of the total.

With regard to oil, Vaca Muerta contributed 239,000 of the 583,000 barrels per day of national production in June.

Today, gas from Patagonia in the south is transported to Buenos Aires and other large towns and cities through three gas pipelines built in the 1980s, which do not live up to demand.

For this reason, the gas pipeline whose contract was signed this month has been described by both the political leadership and the academic world as the most urgently needed piece of infrastructure in Argentina at the moment.

Its cost was set at 1.49 billion dollars at the end of 2021, but it will probably exceed two billion dollars, due to the devaluation and inflation that are crippling the Argentine economy.

According to the government, the pipeline will be operational by June next year, at the beginning of the next southern hemisphere winter.

View of the Costanera thermal power plant, which produces electricity in Buenos Aires with natural gas. Thermal generation predominates in Argentina's electricity mix, making up almost 60 percent of the total in 2021. The gas shortage recorded this southern hemisphere winter made it necessary to use more liquid fuels to supply the power plants. CREDIt: Enel

View of the Costanera thermal power plant, which produces electricity in Buenos Aires with natural gas. Thermal generation predominates in Argentina’s electricity mix, making up almost 60 percent of the total in 2021. The gas shortage recorded this southern hemisphere winter made it necessary to use more liquid fuels to supply the power plants. CREDIt: Enel

In search of investment

“Of course the pipeline is important, but it will not solve all of Argentina’s energy problems,” said Daniel Bouille, a researcher with a PhD in energy economics.

The expert reminded IPS that an important factor is that shale oil and gas is extracted using the hydraulic fracturing technique or fracking, which “is more costly than conventional techniques.”

“To develop Vaca Muerta´s great potential, investments of between 60 and 70 billion dollars are needed,” he explained.

Bouille said that today the conditions do not exist for these investments to take place, in a country whose economy has not been growing since 2010 and where there are exchange controls and limits on the export of foreign exchange, none of which foments confidence among international capital.

In order to combat this situation, Economy Minister Sergio Massa announced that on Sept. 9 he will visit oil giants such as Chevron, Exxon, Shell and Total at their headquarters in the U.S. city of Houston, Texas to interest them in the possibility of investing in Vaca Muerta.

Argentina does not seem to be coming up with alternatives. “For 20 years the country’s conventional oil and gas production has been steadily decreasing, because all the basins have been depleted,” said Nicolás Gadano, an economist specializing in energy at the private Di Tella University.

“It is precisely the shale hydrocarbons from Vaca Muerta that in the last five years have offset the situation to slow the fall in total production,” he added in an interview with IPS.

Gadano believes that further development of Vaca Muerta’s potential will be positive for Argentina even from an environmental point of view.

“This year in Argentina a lot of oil was used for electricity production due to the lack of gas. But when the pipeline begins to operate, liquid fuels will be replaced by gas, which is a cleaner fuel,” he said.

There are also less visible but critical voices regarding the focus on Vaca Muerta as the path that Argentina should follow in terms of energy.

“Fracking, in addition to its negative environmental and social impacts, is very expensive,” said Martín Alvarez, a researcher at Observatorio Petrolero Sur, a non-governmental organization that focuses on the environmental and social aspects of energy issues.

He noted that “Vaca Muerta hydrocarbons had no possibilities of being exported until the current global energy crisis. It wasn’t until this year’s international price increase that a market for them emerged.”

“Argentina has forgotten about renewable energies and is committed to fossil fuels, which is a step backwards and goes against international climate agreements. Seeking the development of Vaca Muerta has been the only energy policy of this country in the last 10 years,” he complained.