Tidjane Thiam’s blank-check company is in advanced talks with a California life sciences group founded by genomics pioneer Craig Venter, which offers customers a series of expensive tests in an attempt to prolong their lives.
The former Credit Suisse chief executive plans to use his $345 million special-purpose acquisition company Freedom Acquisition Corp to merge with Human Longevity Inc at an implied valuation of about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Venter, who led the first sequencing of the human genome, founded HLI in 2013. The company maps its customers’ genomes and regularly performs full-body MRI scans and various blood tests to combat aging-related diseases. Pricing for the service starts at $7,500 and goes up to $19,000 for the “Platinum” package.
Thiam then turns his attention to HLI sever ties It partnered with co-founder Pimco earlier this month, according to two people familiar with the matter. The bond giant had previously planned a merger between Freedom Acquisition and Mexican fintech company Credijusto, arguing that it overvalued the target, according to these people.
Spas are shell companies that are listed on the stock exchange without a specific target and use their funds to find private companies that can be acquired and listed through reverse mergers. Most need to close the deal or return the money raised to investors within two years of the IPO. The boom in Spacs has faded in recent months as the stock market tumbled.
Freedom Acquisition, which listed in New York in February 2021, counts among its investors François Pinault, the French billionaire who founded luxury goods group Kering.
Pimco is participating in a bad deal As a co-sponsor of Capstar Partners, the company merged with pharmaceutical company Gelesis last year.
Freedom Acquisition replaced Pimco with Next G, a subsidiary of Chinese entrepreneur Edward Zeng’s China Bridge Capital. While Pimco is no longer the main sponsor, it remains an investor in the trust, contributing about $25 million, one of the people said.
Freedom stock is trading at $9.82, below its $10 float.
HLI was co-founded by XPrize Foundation founder and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis. It has offices in San Francisco and San Diego, and plans to expand to London and Dubai as the merger proceeds, one of the people said.
Before approaching Credijusto and HLI, Freedom also spoke to British health startup Babylon, which ended up going public through a different Spac before plummeting in value, the people said.
Freedom Acquisition, Human Longevity and Pimco declined to comment.