Activist group NewGAMe has nominated Randel ‘Randy’ Freeman to be the new chief executive of GAM.
Multiple reports say the activist group, which owns just under 10% of the Swiss asset manager, will put forward Freeman as the new chief executive at the next AGM, due to be held in September. It was reported that GAM’s shareholders had turned down a takeover deal from Liontrust that was first presented in May. The failure of that has led to the board announcing its intention to step down.
According to the Financial Times, NewGAMe has nominated Antoine Spillman, chief executive at Bruellan, as chair. Other candidates include Fabien Pictet, founder of Fabien Pictet & Partners, and Carlos Esteve, founder of Banque Heritage.
Spillman said: “We are delighted Randy Freeman has agreed to be our candidate for CEO of GAM. He is an outstanding investor with significant management, client and marketing experience. His deep understanding of the core fund management business is complemented by his hedge fund and alternatives experience, making him the perfect candidate to lead GAM, return the business to growth and create long-term value for all of GAM’s clients and other stakeholders.”
Freeman’s LinkedIn page indicates he has spent the last six years at SSVL (Monaco), working on the firm’s investment committee. He is also a managing partner at Ex-Ante Partnership in London, and has held roles at Fortress investment Group, Centaurus Capital and BNP Paribas.
According to its website, meanwhile, NewGAMe is “An investor group comprised of NewGAMe SA and Bruellan. NewGAMe is an investment vehicle controlled by Rock Investment, a subsidiary of NJJ Holding, the personal holding company of Xavier Niel. NewGAMe is led by Albert Saporta, a hedge fund industry veteran with 40 years’ experience in global financial markets.”
According to NewGAMe, GAM has seen its share price fall by more than 95% since 2018, with assets under management down bu almost three-quarters over the last five years. The company has also been scathing of the proposed Liontrust deal, noting: “In our view, Liontrust’s offer significantly undervalues GAM and does not reflect the significant upside a successful turnaround could generate for shareholders. The deal is totally lopsided. GAM shareholders will own 12.6% of the combined entity while contributing 40% of the AUM.”
It added: “In addition, the fact Liontrust only offers its own shares, and is not making any cash offer, implies GAM shareholders will be subject to the volatility of Liontrust shares without any firm price for a business that has significant intrinsic value. Therefore, we will not accept Liontrust’s offer under the current terms.”
In a busy week for the business, NewGAMe had earlier claimed it had concluded successful discussions with GAM. Under those talks, the firm said it would provide short-term financing of CHF20m (€20.85m) to GAM to cover the company’s immediate liquidity needs. The short-term financing would be replaced by the proceeds of a convertible bond to be issued by GAM in the amount of CHF25m, subject to approval of shareholders at an EGM to be held on or around 27 September 2023. Both NewGAMe and Rock have also confirmed to GAM their intention to secure sufficient financial resources to fund GAM’s operations as a going concern.