Odyssey Mulls Bid for Southeast

Odyssey Partners, a New York investment firm, has been talking to Southeast Banking Corp. about buying it with government assistance, said a source familiar with the talks.

"They have done due diligence" of troubled Southeast and may submit a bid, the source said.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has been trying to find a way to provide so-called open bank assistance to the $13 billion-asset Florida banking company. The technique involves a combination of private and government funds to recapitalize a bank.

The FDIC has set Thursday "at the earliest" as the deadline for bids.

Odyssey, known for leveraged buyouts and stock investments in public companies, has been talking to the Miami-based bank for "a couple" of months, the source said.

Southeast and the FDIC would not comment. Odyssey could not be reached for comment.

Jacksonville-based Barnett Banks Inc., Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc., and NCNB Corp. and First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., have also said they are interested.

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