W.L. Ross & Co. is not involved in a venture to buy struggling BankUnited Financial Corp., a principal at the private-equity firm said Thursday.

John A. Kanas, the former North Fork Bancorp chairman who is a senior adviser at W.L. Ross, was responding to an American Banker story citing sources that named the fund as involved in the deal. The story, published Thursday, reported that Vanquish Capital Group LLC in Delray Beach, Fla., was arranging a deal to put BankUnited's bad assets in a structured vehicle, then buy control of the Coral Gables, Fla., thrift.

Mr. Kanas said that, though his firm was approached about investing in the deal, the fund never considered it.

"Investment bankers" representing BankUnited "approached us with the idea of this proposal a couple of weeks ago," Mr. Kanas said. "We dismissed it out of hand, and thought that the idea was unexecutable, and have nothing to do with Vanquish, and continue to believe that the idea they proposed to us was not something that would either work or we would find interesting."

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