First Interstate Bancorp, Los Angeles, has agreed to acquire Austin, Tex.-based BancWest Bancorp for $35.8 million in cash, the California company announced on Thursday. The price equaled 1.5 times the Texas company's book value.
BancWest is the parent of The Bank of the West, which has six branches and $248.6 million of assets. The bank was formed in 1989 when an investor group bought assets from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The purchase is First Interstate's first outside California since returning to the acquisition market last year. The nation's 14th largest bank company made no acquisitions for about four years while it focused on restoring its financial health.
Last year, First Interstate announced it was again scouting for acquisitions in California, Washington, and Texas, Since then it has agreed to three bank acquisitions and two failed-thrift branch purchases in the Golden State.