BoA Asset Management Unit Gets Lukewarm Bids

July 1 (Reuters) – Bank of America Corp’s (BAC.N) primary investment management unit is drawing lower than expected bids after its likeliest suitor, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), inked a blockbuster deal to buy Barclays Global Investor (BARC.L), the Financial Times reported, citing people close to the matter.

Bank of America has been trying to sell its Boston-based Columbia Management unit since earlier this year, but the bank has so far not announced a deal for the unit.

The company is hoping to get at least $3 billion from a sale of Columbia Management, but bids so far have come in closer to $2 billion, the paper said, citing the people.

BlackRock was a leading candidate to buy the business, but its hands have become full since agreeing to buy BGI for $13.5 billion last month.

But buy-out firms remain interested in First Republic, a private bank that Bank of America has been trying to sell.

A group led by former bank executive Gerry Ford — which includes private equity firms Carlyle Group [CYL.UL], Blackstone Group LP (BX.N), Oak Hill Capital Partners and TPG — appears to have the highest degree of interest in the business, FT said, citing people close to the matter.

If sold, First Republic could be priced at about its tangible book value — ranging from $600 million to $800 million depending on how its assets were marked and the degree to which Bank of America agreed to share losses, the paper said. (Reporting by Tenzin Pema in Bangalore; Editing by Lincoln Feast)