BankUnited is planning an initial public offering 15 months after the Florida lender collapsed and was acquired by investors including Carlyle Group and WL Ross & Co., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The bank, which is also owned by Blackstone Group LP and Centerbridge Capital Partners, selected underwriters including Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information is private.

A stock offering would provide a gauge of how private- equity firms have fared investing in lenders that collapsed during the credit crisis. BankUnited was shut by federal regulators and sold to the buyout group in May 2009, two months after investors including J.C. Flowers & Co. bought California’s IndyMac Bank and pumped $1.55 billion into the lender. John Kanas, 63, the former head of North Fork Bancorp, was named the Florida lender’s chief executive officer.

After the transactions, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. modified its approach to selling collapsed banks to private equity firms to address concern the investors would take risks with depositors’ money. The new FDIC rules included different capital requirements for private equity-backed banks.

Spokesmen for BankUnited, Blackstone, Carlyle and the banks declined to comment on a possible IPO. Representatives for Centerbridge and WL Ross didn’t return e-mails seeking comment.

Buyout IPOs

BankUnited investors injected $900 million into the institution as part of the agreement with the FDIC, which estimated at the time that the collapse would cost its insurance fund $4.9 billion. The lender had $7.7 billion of deposits and $11.5 billion of assets as of March 31, according to data from the Office of Thrift Supervision.

The lender, based in Miami Lakes, Florida, may select more banks to help arrange the sale, said the people. BankUnited’s investors agreed with the FDIC to a provision that prevented a sale of a controlling stake in the bank for 18 months. As part of the BankUnited transaction, the FDIC holds a warrant that allows it to buy shares of the bank at a discount in the event of an IPO or sale.

The 19 U.S. IPOs of companies backed by private-equity funds this year have fallen an average of 3.7 percent in their first month of trading, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. All other American IPOs have advanced an average of 5.1 percent.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.