Former Credit Suisse director Tidjane Thiam to issue blank check

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Former Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam is raising a $ 250 million special purpose acquisition vehicle to invest in financial services companies in developed and developing countries, according to people familiar with the matter.

JPMorgan Chase helps raise funds after pitching the idea to Mr Thiam, with chief executive Jamie Dimon personally involved, according to these people.

The as-yet-unknown Spac will be listed in New York and is in talks with sovereign wealth funds to be the vehicle’s main backers and several potential board members.

Mr Thiam will be the latest high-profile banker to raise funds through a Spac amid a blank check vehicle boom that has seen people like former Citigroup trader Michael klein and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman raises billions of dollars.

JPMorgan declined to comment. A representative for Mr Thiam was not immediately able to comment.

Spacs, which are publicly traded and raise funds from investors, use the profits to research private companies that they can acquire and get public through a reverse merger. Shareholders don’t know which company the front vehicle will target prior to the deal, so their investment is essentially a gamble on those running Spac.

A recent cohort of sponsoring stars – who receive a 20% stake in the company as a reward for finding a target – has helped to lend legitimacy to a structure that was once relegated to the backwaters of finance and more narrowly. associated with penny stocks.

Other bankers who recently started Spacs are the former rival of Mr Thiam, former UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti, who chairs Investindustrial Acquisition Corp, which filed for a US $ 350 million IPO in October. . Alumnus of Barclays Makram Azar’s Golden Falcon Acquisition Corp Student $ 345 million last month on the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr. Thiam, a Franco-Ivorian citizen who was previously head of insurer Prudential, introduced himself as someone capable of taking financial services companies in more established countries and connecting them to those in emerging markets, said said one of the people.

Outside of finance, he has also been linked to a political function in France due to his relationship with President Emmanuel Macron as well as his native Ivory Coast, where last year the Elysee proposed to him as a potential member of government ahead of a controversial election.

He faces a regulatory investigation in Switzerland into his role in a corporate espionage scandal this led to his ouster from Credit Suisse last February.

Other banks will be added to fundraising alongside JPMorgan at the next stage of New York listing. Credit Suisse, which became a primary advisor to the Spac surge last year, is unlikely to be considered, one of the people said.

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