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What do Brad Pitt, Steve Job’s widow Laurene Powell Jobs and UK-based stock-picker Neil Woodford all have in common? Well they reportedly investing in a little known “cold fusion company,” according to the Financial Times. The outlet reported that company is designing “power sources that run on ‘low-energy nuclear reactions’.”
The North Carolina-based company, Industrial Heat, valued around $1 billion, is wagering on a science that can create energy but does so without causing gases and nuclear waste that harm the environment. If the idea sounds too good to be true—it might just be. It’s a long shot, but some bigwigs think this cold fusion venture is one worth taking. It’s long been discussed, but to date, there is currently no accepted theoretical model that would allow cold fusion to occur.
The Financial Times’ report does acknowledge that there has been no public evidence that Industrial Heat’s science actually works. Despite this lack of public evidence, the North Carolina company has wooed Pitt, who is a well-known environmental activist, the late Steve Jobs’s widow, and English fund manager Neil Woodford’s Woodford Patient Capital Trust.
But just how much are they putting in? According to the FT, Powell Jobs, who is the executive and the founder of Emerson Collective, a social impact organization of Emerson Collective, which bought a $10 million stake in the holding company that owns Industrial Heat in 2018, according to UK filings. In September 2018, Woodford Patient Capital Trust valued its stake by 357 percent to $113 million, which suggests an overall valuation of Industrial Heat of $918 million.
At the time WPCT said, “Over the course of the past 18 months, there have been developments within Industrial Heat’s portfolio of technologies that have shown increasing promise.”
Meanwhile, Pitt’s estate, The Briarcliff Trust, which owns Pitt’s Hollywood estate, has held a stake in Industrial Heat’s UK holding company for four years. John Sall, the co-founder of the North Carolina-based analytics firm SAS Institute, has purchased a $5 million stake in the holding company in 2018. He declined to comment via a SAS Institute spokeswoman.
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These big-pocketed backers have helped propel the value of Industrial Heat to almost $1 billion, which has tremendously increased Woodford’s portfolio. Woodford now owns about a quarter of Industrial Heat. It is the biggest holding of Woodford Patient Capital Trust.
But it’s not just Pitt, Powell, Woodford, and Sall who are betting big on nuclear fusion companies. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has put in millions into a start-up company General Fusion, which is attempting to commercialize fusion energy.
Brad Pitt and Steve Job’s widow Laurene Powell Jobs Reportedly Invest in Cold Fusion Company
Additionally, Microsoft has partnered with General Fusion, offering technological help.
Will the reality of cold fusion ever come to fruition or will it be a very expensive pipe dream? We still don’t know.