FirstFT: First Citizens agrees to buy Silicon Valley Bank

It was towards the start of March that shares in Silicon Valley Bank started to fall after investors started to lose confidence in the lender. As the month ends, a majority of SVB’s assets have now been sold to North Carolina lender First Citizens bank for a hefty discount.

In breaking down the deal, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said First Citizens would take over $72bn of SVB’s assets, $119bn of its deposits and its 17 branches. The FDIC will keep about $90bn of SVB’s loans.

This is not the first time that First Citizens has swooped in to buy a failed bank. Since 2008 it has completed almost two dozen acquisitions of lenders via deals with the FDIC, making it the 36th largest bank in the US.

With some of the smoke clearing, the bill for SVB’s collapse is now clearer. The FDIC said the bank’s collapse had put a roughly $20bn hole in its insurance fund. Add to that the $2.5bn hit the fund took from the collapse of Signature Bank earlier in the month and you can get a picture of the cost of the crisis so far.

Back in actual Silicon Valley, Elon Musk’s Twitter has had a large chunk of its source code leaked online. The social media company has kicked off legal action to take down the code that was posted on the open-source repository GitHub on Friday. The code is one of Twitter’s most important pieces of intellectual property and could damage Musk’s attempt to turn Twitter profitable.

Here are some of the other events you should know about today:

  • Finland’s Nato membership: Hungary’s parliament votes on ratifying Finland’s bid to join Nato. If successful it would mean Russia would share a new land border with the western alliance.

  • Harris in Africa: US vice-president Kamala Harris is in Ghana today for a short tour of Africa. The purpose of the visit is to counter the influence of Russia and China in the region.

  • China: Taiwan’s former president Ma Ying-jeou started a 12-day visit to China. While he is visiting in a private capacity, the trip is happening at a time of significant tensions between the two countries.

What did you think of today’s FirstFT? Let us know at firstft@ft.com. Thanks for reading.

Five more top stories

Protestors wave an Israeli flag in Tel Aviv
Protests mounted in more than 150 locations across Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem © Reuters

1. Intense protests rocked Israel last night after its defence minister was sacked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for calling for a halt to a contentious judicial overhaul, warning that it was a threat to national security. Today Israel’s president Isaac Herzog has called for the reforms to be shelved.

2. Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma has made a rare public visit to mainland China after spending the majority of the past few years living outside the country. Ma spent less time in China following a government crackdown on the tech sector in 2020. The visit could be a sign that efforts by local government officials to extend an olive branch to Ma’s companies are paying off.

  • Capital flight: While Jack Ma may be warming to China again, the recent disappearance of entrepreneur Bao Fan shows worries still remain about the state’s attitude towards the businesses, writes Henny Sender.

3. New US laws on pay transparency are upsetting the labour market as employees find out how much their colleagues are earning. For businesses, the laws could exacerbate an already tight labour market which has pushed up salaries.

4. Altia, the owner of the Marlboro brand in the US, is planning to double its sale of vaping products to $5bn by 2028. The company has had some notable failures in the vaping market, including losing almost $12.5bn investing in vaping company Juul.

5. Cryptocurrency companies are flocking to Hong Kong after a crackdown in once-friendly Singapore. Hong Kong is pushing to become a new home for crypto but also has the added advantage that it may allow crypto groups to tap the massive demand for digital currency trading in mainland China.

The Big Read

A person holds a copy of a magazine reporting on the case of Mahsa Amini
A magazine cover of Mahsa Amini, whose death in police custody last year triggered demonstrations across more than 150 cities and towns in Iran © Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Outwardly, Iran’s Islamic regime is projecting confidence that it has navigated the country’s recent tumult. But beneath the surface, the anger that inspired nationwide protests is still bubbling away. The question is whether the ideological hardliners in power will allow the changes that analysts believe are their best hope of staving off more unrest.

We’re also reading . . .

  • Tech boom: Although conventional wisdom tells us otherwise, Rana Foroohar argues, we are on the cusp of a new golden age for tech — just not one about consumers.

  • US inequality: In an interview with Henry Mance, sociologist Matthew Desmond unpicks the relationship between rich and poor in the US and how most of society is stacked against the less well-off.

  • ‘Swiss finish’: Once reflective of the high quality of financial safeguards in the country, the term has gained an unfortunate new meaning with Credit Suisse’s demise, writes Patrick Jenkins.

Chart of the day

Republican backing of anti-ESG bills is part of a “new wave of climate denialism”, according to former US vice-president Al Gore. Republicans such as Ron DeSantis have called ESG an example of “woke capitalism” which has led to a host of bills across the country restricting sustainable investing, in opposition to the Biden administration’s push towards investing in clean energy.

Take a break from the news

From a bean-to-bar chocolate factory to Taiwanese casual dining, Gregory Marchand, chef-owner of Frenchie, shares with FT Globetrotter his favourite places to eat and drink in Sentier, a bustling pocket of Paris’s 2nd arrondissement.

Additional contributions by Tee Zhuo and Annie Jonas