Ross, Carlyle Eye Joint Rescue Bid for BankUnited

(Reuters) – Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross and the Carlyle private equity group are considering a joint bid for BankUnited Financial Corp (BKUNA.O), the Financial Times said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two investors were conducting due diligence as Tim Geithner, U.S. Treasury secretary, prepared a financial sector rescue plan that would seek to induce private capital to pursue deals for distressed financial institutions and assets, the newspaper said.

Bank deals could have a growing appeal for private equity groups, which are facing big obstacles in securing the financing they need to make big leveraged buyouts, the paper said.

Florida-based BankUnited Financial is a troubled bank with $14 billion in assets, the newspaper said.

Carlyle has been among the more cautious private equity investors in making investments in financial companies, the FT said.

By contrast, Ross said he is looking at more than 100 banks after buying several mortgage servicing operations, the newspaper added.

BankUnited, Carlyle and Wilbur Ross could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Hans Peters)