TD, BB&T Said to Be Among Lenders in Talks to Buy BankUnited

BB&T Corp. (BBT) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) are among companies in talks to buy BankUnited Inc., Florida’s second-biggest lender, people with knowledge of the matter said.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC) also has signaled it may bid, according to one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. BankUnited has asked for offers by today and told potential buyers it’s seeking to finish the sale effort within about two weeks, the people said.

BB&T, TD Bank and Pittsburgh-based PNC have been vying for territory in the U.S. Southeast since the decline of the nation’s housing market caused rivals to collapse or exit the business. PNC outbid BB&T for Royal Bank of Canada’s retail- branch network in the Southeast last year, people with knowledge of that transaction said at the time. Toronto-Dominion and BB&T have struck deals to buy troubled lenders in the region.

BankUnited had a market capitalization of $2.38 billion, based on the close of New York trading on Jan. 13.

Maria Leung, a spokeswoman for Toronto-based TD Bank, Fred Solomon at PNC and Cynthia Williams at BB&T, based in Winston- Salem, North Carolina, declined to comment yesterday. Donna Butler at Miami Lakes, Florida-based BankUnited declined to comment today.

Carlyle, Blackstone

TD Bank bid for BankUnited the last time it was for sale in 2009, when regulators were preparing to seize the failing lender. Instead, a group of private-equity investors including Carlyle Group LP and Blackstone Group LP (BX) prevailed and bought the bank’s operations from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The investor group, which included Chief Executive Officer John Kanas, 65, pumped about $900 million into the company and got the FDIC to agree to absorb most losses on some of the bank’s mortgage assets. The investors took BankUnited public last year at $27 a share, almost triple the initial investment. BankUnited surged 5.8 percent to $24.48 on Jan. 13. The shares have dropped 9.3 percent since the initial public offering.

Toronto-Dominion turned to smaller acquisitions to bolster its market share in the Southeast, buying Greenville, South Carolina-based South Financial Group Inc. for about $192 million and absorbing three Florida lenders from the FDIC.

BB&T took over the operations of Montgomery, Alabama-based Colonial BancGroup Inc. after its 2009 collapse, and agreed to buy Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc.’s Florida retail-lending unit in November.

BB&T rose 30 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $27.53 at 9:31 a.m. in New York trading. PNC gained 66 cents to $62.39 and BankUnited increased 62 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $25.10.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zachary Mider in New York at zmider1@bloomberg.net; Cristina Alesci in New York at calesci2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net

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