WaMu Pushes For Private Equity Takeover: report

Washington Mutual, the large U.S. savings and loan company crippled by mortgage losses, has approached private equity firms about a potential takeover after listed firms showed reluctance, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

Carlyle Group and Blackstone Group LP, who would team up with Texas billionaire and bank investor Gerald J. Ford, are among the private equity firms considering a possible deal, people familiar with the situation told the paper.

It is unclear if those discussions will result in a deal, and WaMu is moving ahead with other efforts that include a sale to another financial institution, the Journal said.

Spain’s Banco Santander SA has pulled out and Canada’s Toronto-Dominion Bank has expressed tepid interest, the Journal’s sources said.

Citigroup Inc, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co are reluctant to absorb WaMu’s loans after conducting due diligence, the paper said.

WaMu declined to comment while Ford could not be reached for comment, the paper said.

Spokespeople for Banco Santander and Citigroup declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

WaMu, Carlyle Group, Blackstone Group, Gerald Ford, Toronto-Dominion Bank, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.

(Reporting by Savio D’Souza in Bangalore; editing by Hans Peters and John Stonestreet)