Blackstone Group LP, Gerald Ford's Flexpoint and U.S. Bancorp are considering bids for assets of Guaranty Financial Group Inc., the Texas lender that said last month it will probably fail, people familiar with the situation said.

Guaranty, whose backers include billionaire Carl Icahn and Omni Hotels owner Robert Rowling, would be the biggest bank to collapse this year and the largest failure since the seizure last September of Washington Mutual Inc.

"A protected version of Guaranty Financial would really appeal to both banks and private-equity firms," said Lawrence Kaplan, a lawyer at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP in Washington. "Texas is an alluring market and a difficult state to get into."

David Barr, a spokesman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., declined to comment. Representatives of U.S. Bancorp and Blackstone also declined to comment. Ford, the former chief executive officer of Golden State Bancorp Inc., declined to comment.

"Guaranty is open for business," spokesman John Wessman said in an e-mailed statement. "We are focused on providing the best customer service possible and believe we can avoid any disruptions to our customers."

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