Former credit suisse chief Tidjane Thiam has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with his SPAC partner Edward Zeng after the Chinese entrepreneur's firm sued Thiam's company for allegedly refusing to pay $6 million in advisory fees.
Thiam's special-purpose company Freedom Acquisition is in settlement talks with Zeng's company China Bridge Capital, The financial times reported, citing two people with knowledge of the dispute.
In August, China Bridge filed a lawsuit in New York that alleged Thiam's company “failed and refused” to pay the fees even though Zeng's company had introduced it to Complete Solaria — the US solar business with which it merged a month earlier — and carried out due diligence, financial modelling and advisory work.
Freedom shareholders approved the deal in July, although nearly 99% redemptions compelled the SPAC to secure $80 million in new funding via a PIPE.
To cover the payout on various additional financing arrangements, the sponsor of Freedom I gave up almost 70% of its stake in the SPAC. A forward-purchase agreement with Polar, which agreed to hold onto 331,753 Class A shares, cost the sponsor 331,753 Class B shares.