Frenetic buyer interest in SVB Bank may have cooled a little this morning after the U.S. government announced a backstop, with existing deposits covered while SVB Bank remains under the control of the FDIC. But in the meantime, the rest of SVB Financial is getting dismantled.
SVB Financial, the holding company parent of the failed SVB Bank, said today that it was formally seeking strategic alternatives -- buyers or otherwise -- for SVB Capital and SVB Securities, two subsidiaries not directly connected to the collapsed bank. SVB Capital has $9.5 billion in assets under management, while SVB Securities has been around in one form or another since 1999. Based out of Boston, it's brokered and provided services to startups across nearly 700 deals, per PitchBook data.
SVB Financial says that a restructuring committee with five independent directors will be looking at next steps for other assets alongside SVB Capital and SVB Securities.
The news comes hours after another subsidiary, SVB UK, was sold to HSBC for the nominal fee of £1 overnight to keep the bank from going into government-mandated insolvency proceedings this morning. HSBC -- perhaps clearly aware that customers will be trying to flee the bank, or simply wanting to reassure customers about the state of their funds there, has already made a statement to the market saying that it's all business as usual.
Although technically SVB Financial itself is still operating, time is of the essence in resolving the fate of these remaining assets. Even before today's announcement, it was clear that a lot of the confusion swirling around the sudden collapse of the banking division of SVB was having an impact on the Securities and Capital operations as both pushed out messaging on their sites on Friday to let the public know that they were not impacted by the news. As with the U.K. operation, there were no outstanding questions over the financial status of either of these subsidiaries prior to the run on the SVB Bank.
"Both of these businesses are separate divisions of SVBFG and not part of Silicon Valley Bank, which is undergoing resolution under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") and Federal Reserve," the company said today.
The Securities division focuses on healthcare and technology companies and provides services like M&A advisory, raising money from the capital markets, arranging leveraged finance and equity research. It only became a part of SVB Financial in 2019, when the holding company acquired boutique investment bank Leerink Partners and rebranded the group. It expanded in 2022 with the acquisition of MoffettNathanson.
Throughout that time, SVB Financial said, it has operated "largely autonomously as a standalone subsidiary" with a "solid financial position, with a healthy balance sheet, significant excess net regulatory capital, and no outstanding debt."
The Capital division had been SVB Financial's VC and private credit arm, investing in a pretty wide array of the kinds of businesses that also tended to bank with SVB. The startups SVB backed directly included the likes of Chipper out of Africa -- where it led a $100 million equity round in 2021 that for a time catapulted the startup into being the most valuable venture-backed operation on the continent. SVB was also involved in a wider effort working on investing in the developing world: it was also a partner, along with the IFC, in a fund backing startups in those markets. It's not clear if those operations came out of the Capital business, or another division.
It also backed a number of more classic U.S. startups such as Opendoor, Roofstock, Paddle, Shield AI and startups out of Europe such as CoachHub across at least 112 funding rounds, per data in PitchBook, and it was a limited partner in some of the biggest names in VC, including Accel, Bessemer, Index, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia, Spark and many others.
"The platform will continue to operate and deliver high-quality services to clients through its existing management team, which has a proven track record of success. SVB Capital funds are separate legal entities, distinct from Silicon Valley Bank," SVB Financial said in a statement. "Its investor commitments and portfolio investments are owned by the SVB Capital funds and are not subject to the resolution process underway for Silicon Valley Bank. SVB Capital maintains underwriting and investment committee processes that are separate from Silicon Valley Bank."
There was no timing attached to today's announcement, but if the U.K. sale is an indication, the holding company may be looking for a resolution ASAP.