Former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam’s $345 Million SPAC Loses Pimco Support

Blank-check SPAC Freedom Acquisition I Corp, headed by Tidjane Thiam, former CEO of Credit Suisse, has parted with Pimco. Next, G, an affiliate of Edward Zeng’s advisory firm China Bridge Capital, purchased its stake. It is rare for a SPAC’s early investors to leave the investment once it begins trading. This is especially true when Thiam, a native of the Ivory Coast, is involved.

What You Need to Know:

Freedom Acquisition I launched its $345 million IPO on February 25, 2013. It aims to partner with a scalable fintech target that has distinct business strengths and differentiation. The focus is on technology-enabled businesses with growth potential and technological capabilities. CultureBanx reported Pimco’s sponsor group, which is committed to purchasing shares in the IPO.

According to the Financial Times, Thiam said that Edward Zeng, a Chinese entrepreneur, is better suited for his acquisition company than Pimco in the United States.

High-profile investors were flocking for support of SPACs from European financiers. Francois Pinault (billionaire founder of luxury conglomerate Kering SA) was among the investors who participated in Thiam’s blank check IPO. Perhaps that sentiment is changing with Pimco out now.

Ready for SPAC?

Thiam has extensive experience in leading companies through difficult times. After leading Prudential’s turnaround from 2009 to 2014 and succeeding in his current role, Thiam took over Credit Suisse’s helm in July 2015. He successfully restructured Credit Suisse during a year that saw a $3B loss. Thiam has a proven track record of success in making companies succeed, and he would be able to do the same with Freedom Acquisition I.

Thiam’s tenure saw Credit Suisse shift from investment banking to wealth management. This was during a difficult period for many European banks and led to a profitability return in 2018. Thiam, who was a Black CEO at a major investment bank, is a rare find in the finance industry. He was also beset by a scandal where the bank carried out spying operations on two senior employees.

What’s Next:

This is the third SPAC to negotiate a new arrangement with its sponsor in less than a week. This follows Group Nine’s agreement with the 890 5th Team and Tribe Tribe2’s resignation from Tribe Capital Growth Corp. The freedom I Acquisition has almost nine months to find an acquisition, with a deadline of March 2, 2023.

We have reached out to Pimco to request a comment. We are currently waiting for their response.

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Robert Scoble
Robert is the assistant managing editor for HC News, overseeing coverage of markets, companies, strategy and business leaders. Originally from Boston, Scoble began his journalism career in 1997 & now resides outside New York.

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