SVB Financial Group: A Bankrupt Bank or a Bargain Buy?
Silicon Valley Bank may have failed, but you can still buy shares in SVB Financial Group (OTCMKTS:SIVBQ), its parent company. Trading in SVB Financial stock on the Nasdaq Exchange was suspended on March 10 following SVB’s collapse.
However, on March 28, this stock, formerly trading under the ticker symbol SIVB, resumed trading in the over-the-counter (or OTC) market under the ticker symbol SIVBQ. Along with the exchange change and the ticker change, there was an even more dramatic change with SVB: its trading price.
Trading for $106.04 per share before its suspension from the Nasdaq, the busted bank stock opened at 53 cents per share upon its OTC debut. Interestingly enough, shares have gained, although the current stock price is a far cry from pre-crisis prices.
With this recent price action, you may wonder if there’s any “hidden value” with this bankrupt stock. Let’s find out.
SVB Financial Stock and its Post-Collapse Surge
Much like it’s no surprise that SVB shares have collapsed in price since its main subsidiary’s failure, shares have gained after this tremendous price collapse. When SIVBQ began trading late last month, there was a mad rush of sellers but also a mad rush of buyers.
The sellers were those holding the bag at the moment of the collapse. They were willing to unload their SVB Financial stock position at any price to realize their losses and move on. That’s why shares at one point on March 28 fell to as low as a penny per share.
While not certain, the main pool of buyers for SIVBQ stock was likely retail speculators. The stampede of these buyers, whether looking to make fast day-trade profits or to bet that some residual value would be left for common shareholders once SVB dissolved, resulted in shares temporarily swinging sharply in the other direction.
This buying briefly increased the stock to as much as $1.29 per share on March 29. In subsequent days, volatility settled down. However, the stock has found support at just under $1 per share.
Speculators are Barking Up the Wrong Tree
With Silicon Valley Bank seized by regulators and its deposits, loans, and branches acquired by First Citizens Bancshares (NASDAQ:FCNCB), SVB Financial has no economic interest in the now-defunct bank. That’s not to say, however, that SVB Financial stock represents ownership in a corporate shell with zero assets to its name.
Besides ownership of Silicon Valley Bank, SVB Financial, at the time of its bankruptcy (filed on March 17), had several non-bank operating units, including SVB Capital, an investment firm, and SVB Securities, a brokerage firm. This bank holding company also had around $2.3 billion in cash and $491 million in investment securities.
But as a Seeking Alpha commentator argued, right after SVB’s Chapter 11 filing, after paying back creditors, preferred shareholders, and bankruptcy lawyers with the proceeds from an orderly liquidation, chances are there will be nothing left for common shareholders.
Investing in bankrupt stocks can sometimes be profitable. Just ask the retail investors who gambled on Hertz Global Holdings (NASDAQ:HTZ) after its 2020 bankruptcy. However, most Chapter 11 situations result in a total wipeout for common shareholders, and this is likely one of them. Speculators buying the stock today are barking up the wrong tree.
Outside of some possible further volatility in the near term, don’t expect an investment in SIVBQ stock to be profitable. All signs point to shares falling to zero once the dissolution of SVB Financial is complete.
Having said that, while this is not a great opportunity, investors seeking high-risk/high-potential return plays in the financial sector may have other choices. The caveat, however, is these plays will likely not fall into your lap.
Among the scores of publicly-traded regional bank stocks, there are likely a few names that have become oversold as a result of last month’s banking crisis. Through thorough due diligence and analysis, you may be able to stumble upon these diamonds in the rough.
While trading for a dollar, SVB Financial stock is likely not even worth a penny, so stay away.
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On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.