Dune Capital Management LP is leading an investor team, which includes the private-equity adviser J. Christopher Flowers and the hedge fund Paulson & Co. Inc., applying for IndyMac Bancorp's assets and deposits.
An Office of Thrift Supervision spokeswoman confirmed Monday that a company called HoldCo., apparently under Dune's control, had applied for thrift holding company status — a step that would be necessary to allow the consortium to own IndyMac's assets.
The spokeswoman would not name the investment team's other members, but sources confirmed that Mr. Flowers and Paulson & Co. are also participants.
A deal for IndyMac assets and deposits had been expected last week and could come as early as Monday. The reason for the delay was unclear, and so was whether the ultimate buyer would take over IndyMac or move its assets into a different institution.
Mr. Flowers has been approved to take over First National Bank of Cainesville, which was designed to give him a vehicle to buy assets from other failing banks. He acquired the $14 million-asset institution after a failed bid for Sallie Mae.
"People have referred" to the Missouri bank "as an 'inflatable charter,' " said Ralph F. MacDonald 3rd, a partner at Jones Day in Atlanta. Mr. Flowers "agreed to spend $1 million to upgrade its data processing and other systems with the thought that they might use that to buy failed bank assets."
Mr. MacDonald said an investor consortium would also allow acquirers to break up IndyMac, which collapsed under the weight of a risky mortgage portfolio, and prevent some of its more volatile assets from hurting the balance sheet of a new depository institution.
"It would not surprise me if they did a joint bid but then split up the assets, … and put them in unregulated entities like limited partnerships and servicers," he said. "That would make a lot of sense. You don't want the riskier assets — the alt-A mortgages and the private securitizations — to be tied in with your regulated entity where you have to maintain capital."