First Republic, Former BofA Unit, Files for Share Sale

First Republic Bank, the San Francisco lender purchased by private-equity firms from Bank of America Corp. at midyear, is planning an initial public offering.

The number of shares to be sold and amount to be raised weren’t included in the announcement of the offering today by First Republic, whose owners include General Atlantic LLC and Colony Capital LLC. The bank is seeking a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, according to the statement.

The group including General Atlantic and Colony Capital paid $1.86 billion for First Republic, according to an offering circular. Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, gained control of the firm when it took over Merrill Lynch & Co. in January 2009. Merrill Lynch paid $1.8 billion in 2007 for the bank.

First Republic will use proceeds from the sale “for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, funding loans or purchasing investment securities for our portfolio,” the firm said in the filing.

Colony was founded by billionaire Thomas Barrack in 1991, in part to buy distressed assets in the wake of the U.S. savings and loan crisis. His Santa Monica, California-based firm has invested $45 billion in 12,000 assets, according to its website.

Colony’s Holdings

Holdings have included Neverland Ranch, the former home of the late singer Michael Jackson. Colony was also among investors that agreed in July to buy Miramax Films for $660 million in cash from Walt Disney Co.

General Atlantic is led by William E. Ford, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, according to First Republic’s circular. The firm is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, and manages about $15 billion, according to its website. General Atlantic and Colony each holds a 21.8 percent stake in First Republic, according to the document.

First Republic serves affluent clients in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada and Oregon. The firm won’t pay cash dividends on common shares in the “foreseeable future” after the sale, the filing said. Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are managing the offering.

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