Blackstone Plans $1 Billion Failed-Bank Fund

Mar 18 2010 | 8:56am ET

The Blackstone Group, which has already been linked to two efforts to buy failed banks, is trying again.

The private equity giant is in preliminary talks to raise $1 billion for a blind pool to acquire failed banks, Bloomberg News reports. The planned fund follows Blackstone’s purchase in May—alongside W.L. Ross & Co. and the Carlyle Group—of BankUnited Financial Corp. and January’s news that billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson had approached the firm about backing his bid for the failed British lender Northern Rock.

Blackstone has also applied for a British bank charter in connection with its plans to launch a new bank with hedge fund Cambridge Place Investment Management.

The New York-based firm is working with the former president of Bluebonnet Savings Bank, R. Brad Oates, on the new blind pool.

Alternative investment firms have been active in buying failed banks in recent months, with Dune Capital Management, Elliott Management, Greenlight Capital, J.C. Flowers & Co., Paulson & Co. and Soros Fund Management all taking part in deals for seized banks.

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