Banking

Ex-Credit Suisse CEO Thiam, Pimco team up for $250 million SPAC

Former Credit Suisse Group Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam is teaming up with Pacific Investment Management Co. for a blank-check company that’s seeking to raise $250 million.

Freedom Acquisition I Corp. plans to offer 25 million units at $10 apiece in its U.S. initial public offering, it said in a filing Wednesday. Pimco, the investment unit of Allianz SE that manages about $2 trillion of assets, is a co-sponsor of Freedom Acquisition and plans to buy as much as 9.9% of the offering.

Tidjane Thiam.

Bloomberg News

Thiam will be executive chairman of the special-purpose acquisition company, according to the filing. It will be run by one of his key lieutenants, ex-investment banker Adam Gishen, who was Credit Suisse’s head of investor relations and communications during Thiam’s tenure. Abhishek Bhatia, who was previously a senior executive at the Asian insurer FWD Group, is also one of the SPAC’s founders.

The blank-check company will hunt for deals in the financial services industry in both developed and emerging markets. It’s looking for technology-enabled businesses that show growth and the potential to scale, according to the filing. JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley are arranging the offering.

Thiam left Credit Suisse last year as the bank grappled with a spying scandal that ranks as one of the biggest controversies in recent Swiss corporate history. His ouster came after a power struggle with the outgoing Credit Suisse chairman, Urs Rohner, after it emerged that the bank’s management spied on former wealth chief Iqbal Khan when he left to join archrival UBS Group.

Switzerland’s banking regulator said in September that it would start an enforcement action against Credit Suisse to look into potential violations around the scandal. The bank has said it’s fully cooperating with the probe. An international investigation earlier concluded that Thiam didn’t know about the spying.

SPAC listings have been booming as a slew of former investment bankers, business executives and even sports figures seek to trade on their name recognition and raise money for dealmaking. Among them is former Commerzbank Chief Executive Martin Blessing, who’s planning to list a blank-check firm in Amsterdam that will target the European financial services industry, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.


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