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Rubio Urges CFIUS Review Of Foreign Acquisition Of SVB Holdings

Mar 15, 2023 | Press Releases

The consequences of the collapse and closure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank raise the possibility that assets will end up in the hands of hostile, foreign adversaries, including the Chinese Communist Party. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen regarding the potential national security implications of such acquisitions. 

  • “I request that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) be prepared to carefully review any covered transactions that result as a part of SVB’s, Signature Bank’s, and others’ potential closures, as well as secondary consequences that come about as a result of these closures. Beijing rarely allows an opportunity to exploit a crisis to pass by, so CFIUS must work diligently to ensure that promising American firms working in critical technologies do not end up acquired by Chinese conglomerates and others.”

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Secretary Yellen:

As the Department of Treasury continues to respond to the recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank, as well as related, ongoing challenges in the United States economy, I write to urge the department to prioritize United States national security, and, in particular, our geo-economic competition with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in its response. Specifically, I ask the department to ensure that foreign adversarial regimes, as well as companies subject to their jurisdiction, are unable to exploit this moment for their own material benefit.

First and foremost, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) continues to work to effect an auction of SVB, I request that Treasury ensure that none of its assets end up in the hands of hostile, foreign adversaries – most notably, the PRC, including Hong Kong and Macau. This should include potential buyers whose ownership structure allows undue foreign influence over their operations. 

Moreover, I request that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) be prepared to carefully review any covered transactions that result as a part of SVB’s, Signature Bank’s, and others’ potential closures, as well as secondary consequences that come about as a result of these closures. Beijing rarely allows an opportunity to exploit a crisis to pass by, so CFIUS must work diligently to ensure that promising American firms working in critical technologies do not end up acquired by Chinese conglomerates and others.

Furthermore, it is my understanding that SVB was a significant lender to Chinese start-ups, as well. The bank had participated in a joint venture in the PRC with Shanghai Pudon Development Bank, playing an outsized role in funding early-stage Chinese companies. This includes biotech groups and life-sciences technology firms operating in both the United States and the PRC. As the Department of Treasury, in tandem with the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, continues its response, I request information from the Department of Treasury regarding depositors from the PRC, including Hong Kong and Macau, that can expect to receive federal reimbursements from the Deposit Insurance Fund and other federal relief. 

Thank you for your attention for this urgent matter. 

Sincerely,