The Internal Revenue Service ruled in favor of a planned spinoff at Imperial Bancorp that would create a new corporation, Imperial Financial Group Inc. The Los Angeles-based banking company is proposing a tax-free distribution to shareholders of a portion of its specialty lending and finance businesses.

Upon completion of the spinoff, which requires further regulatory approval and financing, the new company would include: the Lewis Horowitz Organization, a specialty entertainment lending unit; Imperial Trust Co., a California-licensed trust company; a small-business lending division; and the banking company's investment in about 8.9 million shares of stock of Imperial Credit Industries Inc., a specialty finance company.

Imperial Bank, Imperial Bancorp's principal subsidiary, operates 11 regional banking offices throughout California and loan production offices in Texas, Washington State, Massachusetts, and Arizona.

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