Possibly clearing the way for its sale to an acquisitive Seattle thrift, Coast Savings Financial Inc. has reportedly decided to spin off to investors its potential winnings from a goodwill lawsuit.

A market source said Los Angeles-based Coast would follow the lead of California Federal Bank, which in 1995 distributed securities to its shareholders entitling them to one-quarter of any damages won in Cal Fed's suit against the federal government over accounting for goodwill in acquisitions of troubled thrifts in the 1980s.

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