Toronto-Dominion Bank and a private-equity group led by the billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross have entered bids to acquire BankUnited Financial Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.
The suitors submitted their offers Tuesday morning to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ahead of a noon deadline, the people said on the condition of anonymity.
Federal regulators could take BankUnited into receivership soon after soliciting bids for the Coral Gables, Fla., thrift company, which has been deemed "critically undercapitalized."
Taking the company into receivership would wipe out its shareholders.
The $14 billion-asset BankUnited has lost money for three consecutive quarters as a result of surging defaults on option adjustable-rate mortgages.
The bid deadline could be extended as regulators seek more buyers, according to one person familiar with the bidding. The deadline has been extended several times already, most recently last week.
Shares of BankUnited, which has 95 branches in Florida, declined 21.34% Tuesday.
The private-equity consortium includes Carlyle Group LLC, Blackstone Group LP and Centerbridge Partners LP.
Ross has hired John Kanas, the former chief executive at North Fork Bancorp, to help run BankUnited if the private-equity bid is successful.
Toronto-Dominion has significant operations in the United States through TD Bank and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is attached to its bid, the people said.
A spokesman for Toronto-Dominion would not discuss the matter. Neither the FDIC nor a spokesman for Goldman Sachs immediately returned phone calls seeking comment.
J.C. Flowers & Co. was also considered to be interested in acquiring BankUnited.
However, a person familiar with one of the potential acquirers said that J.C. Flowers has not yet entered a bid.
A representative of J.C. Flowers did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the matter.