Bank United Corp.'s deal with longtime suitor Washington Mutual Inc. was, in the end, the best solution to an acquisition strategy that had become increasingly hampered by the activities of much larger out-of-state competitors in the Texas market.

The Houston-based thrift - the state's largest - said Monday that it had agreed to be acquired by Seattle-based Washington Mutual for about $1.5 billion, ending a run of several years in hot pursuit of its own in-state acquisitions.

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