Washington Mutual Inc. lost valuable time promoting its bid for control of Great Western Financial Corp. after the Securities and Exchange Commission told it March 7 to curtail discussion of the deal until regulatory filings were complete.

Kerry Killinger, chief executive of Washington Mutual, was in the middle of talking up the deal to large shareholders in Boston and New York the day after announcing his white-knight deal, when he was advised to stop until a filing, called an S-4, had been made.

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