One week after trading was halted for SVB Financial and regulators took control of the holding company for Silicon Valley Bank and other subsidiaries, SVB Financial has taken the next inevitable step: Today it announced that it has formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This will mean that SVB Financial can apply, and plans to apply, to the courts to resume activities while finding buyers for its assets, which include going ahead with its plans to sell off SVB Securities and SVB Capital, and more.
As part of that process, SVB Financial is also disclosing some of the financial state of the holding company, which had a market cap of about $12 billion before shares plunged last Friday as depositors made a run on the bank. (Trading was halted at the point that the market cap was slashed to about half of that $12 billion.)
The statement noted that the company “believes it has approximately $2.2 billion of liquidity.” It also noted that funded debt is approximately $3.3 billion “in aggregate principal amount of unsecured notes,” which are only recourse to SVB Financial Group, “and have no claim against SVB Capital or SVB Securities,” which are legally separate entities. SVB Financial Group “also has $3.7 billion of preferred equity outstanding,” it said.
It also provided an update on the sale of assets that currently and formerly sat within the group.
There have been a lot of hiccups in the search for a buyer for the banking division of SVB, which post-fed takeover is now called Silicon Valley Bridge Bank. That process is being overseen by regulators. In contrast, the group said it had “significant interest” for SVB Securities and SVB Capital. These two still sit under SVB Financial, but they are technically different legal entities and are therefore not included in the Chapter 11 filing, nor in the sale of the bridge bank. They are also continuing to operate while being shopped around separately to potential buyers, a process that started earlier this week.
The key thing with Chapter 11 is that it will mean that SVB Financial Group can resume operations outside of the FDIC’s control while it works through next steps.
To that end, the holding company said it plans to file “customary first day motions with the Bankruptcy Court that, among other things, seek authorization to continue the operations of SVB Financial Group in the ordinary course of business as soon as a hearing can be scheduled. Additional documents relating to the Bankruptcy Court proceeding will be filed in the coming days,” the company noted in its statement.
SVB Financial also noted that in addition to cash and interests in SVB Capital and SVB Securities, “the Financial Group has other valuable investment securities accounts and other assets for which it is also exploring strategic alternatives.” It did not spell out the details of these in its statement today but we’ll likely see more on this as the story unfolds over the coming weeks.
In a separate call to venture clients on Friday, the CEO of Silicon Valley Bridge Bank Tim Mayopoulos addressed the filing while appearing to read from a script. “All the obligations of Silicon Valley Bridge Bank are backed by the FDIC and the full faith and credit of the U.S. government,” he said, reiterating that SVB Bank, SVB Securities, and SVB Capital are not included in the bankruptcy filing, as per the earlier statement. The wealth and private banking businesses are included in the bankruptcy filing.
“We’re trying to be very clear about which institutions are affected and which ones are not,” he said later on the call, as more questions emerged from clients on the morning’s news.