Several large shareholders of BankUnited (BKU) in Miami Lakes, Fla., are preparing to sell about one-fifth of the company's outstanding stock.

The $12.2 billion-asset company said Wednesday that certain shareholders are preparing an underwritten offering of 19.6 million shares of common stock in the company, or just under 21% of the total outstanding. The underwriters of the offering, Morgan Stanley and BofA Merrill Lynch, will have the option to buy an additional 2.9 million shares, which would bring the total offering to approximately $644 million at the company's share price of $28.57 Wednesday morning.

"BankUnited said in a prospectus for the offering that funds affiliated with Blackstone Group are selling 4.8 million shares of their preferred stock, which is equal to the same amount of common stock. They would retain an 8.3% share of the company after the offering. Funds associated with W.L. Ross & Co. and Carlye Group plan to sell 35% of the common stock they currently hold."

John Kanas, BankUnited's chairman and chief executive, would sell 800,000 shares of common stock, or roughly 14% of his holdings. John Bohlson, a key Kanas lieutenant, will sell 350,000 shares of common stock, or 11% of his holdings.

There are now just over 95 million of outstanding shares of BankUnited common stock, held by approximately 577 shareholders, according to the registration statement the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

BankUnited made a profit of $62.5 million, or 61 cents per share, last quarter. It is planning to hire up to 100 new employees in New York as the company prepares to open new branches in that market.

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