Tuesday, March 5, 2024

HSBC buys UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank for Rs 99

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HSBC bought the UK arm of stricken Silicon Valley Bank for a symbolic one pound on Monday, rescuing a key lender for technology start-ups in Britain and helping curb the fallout from the biggest bank collapse since the financial crash.

The move comes after US authorities moved to shore up deposits and stem any wider contagion from the sudden collapse of its parent Silicon Valley Bank.

The deal, which sees one of the world’s biggest banks, with $2.9 trillion of assets, take the doomed British arm of the tech lender under its wing, brings to an end frantic weekend talks between the government, regulators, and prospective buyers.

“HSBC is Europe’s largest bank, and SVB UK customers should feel reassured by the strength, safety and security that brings them,” Britain’s finance minister Jeremy Hunt said.

“We were faced with a situation where we could have seen some of our most important companies – our most strategic companies – wiped out, and that would have been extremely dangerous,” Hunt told reporters.

Asked about HSBC’s white-knight role, Hunt said the finance ministry’s priority had been to avoid using British taxpayers’ money. One pound is worth $1.21. HSBC buys UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank for Rs 99

The Bank of England said it had organised the sale to underpin confidence in the financial system and minimise any fallout for British technology firms.
It said deposits at the bank were safe as a result of the sale, and that the wider banking system was safe.

Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index of shares was down 1 per cent in early trading, after sliding 1.7 per cent on Friday amid wider global market turmoil sparked by SVB’s collapse. HSBC shares were down 1.7 per cent.

“On the face of it appears a good deal,” Richard Marwood, senior fund manager and HSBC investor at Royal London Asset Management, said. “SVB lacked liquidity and depositor confidence – HSBC has both of those in spades.”

SVB UK is ringfenced from the US group, and HSBC said the assets and liabilities of the parent company were excluded from the transaction.

“This acquisition makes excellent strategic sense for our business in the UK,” HSBC CEO Noel Quinn said in a statement.

SVB UK has loans of around 5.5 billion pounds and deposits of around 6.7 billion pounds, HSBC said, adding the takeover completes immediately.

The Bank of England said SVB UK had a total balance sheet size of around 8.8 billion pounds.

Unlike the United States, Britain has not announced broader liquidity measures for the banking system.

Dozens of listed British companies issued statements on Monday about their exposure to SVB UK, seeking to reassure investors, or in some cases warn them, just as news of the rescue deal was announced.

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