On April 27, IDW Media Holdings - parent company of comic publisher IDW Publishing and its movie/tv arm IDW Entertainement - announced it was laying off 39% of its workforce and enforcing a hard "reset" on the company. Announced first in an all-hands Zoom meeting for staff and then subsequently messaged out to stockholders and the press, the news reverberated around the comics industry and raised some of those same familiar worries we've had recently for Oni Press, Valiant Entertainment, and AfterShock Comics. One of the widespread worries was 'what's next?'
Well, four days later IDW's owners woke up to news that one of the banks it uses had failed - but the good news is, the government (and eventually another bank) swoooped in to protect the bank's accountholders.
In IDW's most recent quarterly report, the company raised red flags regarding its accounts with the California-based First Republic Bank. Following the recent banking crisis which saw two significant banks fail, questions about the stability of First Republic had begun to be raised in March 2023.
In its statement to stockholders, IDW warned that if the bank failed it "may lead to significant disruptions to our operations, financial position, and reputation."
"[IDW] maintains an account at First Republic and certain customers make payments to the Company via that account, although the Company does not generally maintain significant deposits in that account beyond the short term," reads IDW's quarterly report. "If First Republic were to fail, we may not be able to access the payments made by those of our customers who make payments via that account on a timely basis, if at all."
Those worries were well-founded.
US federal regulators seized control of First Republic Bank on the morning of Monday, May 1, 2023 after insolvency issues in the past week raised aditional red flags, even after a $30 billion lifeline to First Republic from other banks in March. After the bank failed and the US government seized control, First Republic was then in turn sold to JP Morgan Chase. According to a statement from US President Joe Biden, First Republic's account holders "are being protected" but those who were owners of First Republic have completely lost their investment.
The New York Times reports the First Republic was known to be a major bank for those in the start-up industry (which IDW would qualify as), and was the 14th largest bank in the United States as of earier this year. As a whole, First Republic is the second-largest bank in U.S. history to fail behind Washington Mutual in 2008, which was also subsequently aquired by JP Morgan Chase.
So is IDW's money safe? According to Biden and the New York Times, JPMorganChase's acquisition of First Republic Bank has made that bank's accountholders safe. But with the major "reset" IDW is attempting to undergo right this very moment, a bank failure is one of the last new problems it needs.