March 28, 2023

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HSBC takes over Silicon Valley Bank’s UK unit in rescue deal

2 min read

HSBC on Monday averted a crisis in Britain’s tech sector by rescuing Silicon Valley Bank’s UK arm, in a dramatic fire sale concluded after all-night talks with British ministers led by Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England.

HSBC emerged overnight as the leading white-knight bidder for SVB UK, with Noel Quinn, the bank’s chief executive, involved in the frantic talks with Sunak, currently in the US.

A sale of the stricken bank was the preferred choice of Jeremy Hunt, UK chancellor, since it would avoid the government having to make a big intervention to protect depositors.

Hunt wrote on Twitter at 7am: “This morning, the government and the Bank of England facilitated a private sale of Silicon Valley Bank UK to HSBC. Deposits will be protected, with no taxpayer support.

“I said yesterday that we would look after our tech sector, and we have worked urgently to deliver that promise.”

The extraordinary overnight rescue mission involved Sunak, Hunt and City minister Andrew Griffith, while Andrew Bailey, Bank of England governor, and Sam Woods of the Prudential Regulation Authority were also involved.

One person briefed on the haggling over the future of SVB UK said it was a “fully competitive” process with multiple parties interested in taking over the stricken bank.

Sunak, in California for a defence summit with leaders of the US and Australia, was said to have been “very hands on” overnight.

Hunt said on Sunday there was “a serious risk” to tech and life sciences companies that used SVB’s UK bank, with senior founders warning of “carnage” if they were unable to pay wages and bills in the coming week.

The government spent the weekend racing to try to sell SVB UK and put together a back-up plan to support companies that have deposits trapped in the lender. US regulators on Sunday evening said that SVB’s American depositors would have access to all of their money on Monday.

Several people familiar with the UK government’s attempts to broker…

2023-03-13 03:06:35

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