Shares of SVB Financial fall more than 50% as tech-focused bank looks to raise more cash

In this photo illustration of the TradingView stock market chart of SVB Financial Group seen displayed on a smartphone with the SVB Financial Group logo in the background. 

Igor Golovniov | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Shares of tech-focused bank SVB Financial plunged by more than 50% on Thursday after the company announced a plan to raise more than $2 billion in capital to help offset losses on bond sales.

Trading in the stock was halted for volatility multiple times during the session, and the drop brought SVB’s market cap below $8 billion.

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SVB Financial fell sharply after the bank announced a plan to raise more cash.

The company said in a letter from CEO Greg Becker on Wednesday that it has sold “substantially all” of its available for sale securities, and was looking to raise $2.25 billion between common equity and convertible preferred shares.

Investment fund General Atlantic has already committed to contribute $500 million of that total, the letter said.

The sale of securities will result in a post-tax earnings loss of $1.8 billion, SVB’s letter said, but the company added that its plan to reinvest the proceeds should be “immediately accretive” as the bank reshapes its balance sheet.

The company previously reported $28.8 billion in available for sale securities on its balance sheet at the end of December, as well as $95.3 billion held-to-maturity securities. The available for sale securities were mostly U.S. Treasurys.

The Federal Reserve has aggressively hiked interest rates over the past year, which can cause the value of bonds to fall — particularly those that have many years to maturity. SVB said it is reinvesting the proceeds from its sales into shorter-term assets.

The bank cited higher interest rates and “elevated cash burn from our clients” as reasons to raise the new capital. The firm is heavily involved with startup companies, saying on its website that nearly half of all venture-backed tech and life science firms in the U.S. bank with SVB.

Wells Fargo bank analyst Mike Mayo said in a note to clients that SIVB’s issues appeared to be caused by “a lack of funding diversification.” Higher interest rates, fears of a recession and a tepid market for initial public offerings have made it harder for startups to raise additional capital.

The dramatic decline for SVB comes shortly after crypto-focused bank Silvergate announced liquidation plans. SVB said in its letter that it has minimal exposure to crypto.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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