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The Clock is Ticking for BankUnited

Reprinted with permission from Reuters Dealzone. By Paritosh Bansal

Some people thought Florida lender BankUnited would be sold months ago as regulators fretted over its health amid the housing downturn.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp tends to take over banks on Fridays as it gives them the weekend to put an institution’s business in order and re-open it under new management by Monday. So the question was, is this the Friday?

The government has given BankUnited some leeway to try to work out a deal. That flexibility may be because the bank has some $13 billion of assets, and disposing of a bank that big could result in a real hit to the FDIC’s insurance fund, Raymond James analyst Michael Rose told Reuters in February.

Things appear to be coming to a head now, though. Regulators deemed the bank “critically undercapitalized” and told it to find a buyer, but a 20-day period for the bank to do so expired on May 4 with no success, and sources said the FDIC took bids for the bank on Tuesday.

At least two bidders were in the race– a star-studded private equity consortium and Toronto Dominion bank with some Goldman Sachs involvement, according to sources. The consortium includes WL Ross, Carlyle, Blackstone and Centerbridge.

Is it this Friday, then?