A deal announced last week by a Detroit banker to buy America's largest black-owned bank may be just a prelude to a lengthy bidding war.

Indecorp, a Chicago bank holding company with $267 million of assets, signed a letter of intent to be acquired by an investor group led by William T. Johnson. Mr. Johnson is president of Omni Banc Corp., a black-owned bank company in River Rouge, Mich., with $22 million of assets.

But now Marcus Alexis, a professor at Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, says he has assembled a group of African-American investors in Chicago to make a counteroffer.

"We still intend to make an offer for Indecorp," said the former board director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He declined to elaborate.

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