A consortium comprised of New York investment firms J.C. Flowers & Co., Dune Capital Management and Paulson & Co. is set to acquire distressed IndyMac Bancorp, according to published reports.

The buyers will purchase the $32 billion-asset Pasadena, Calif.-based thrift from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., The New York Times reported on Monday. The FDIC has run IndyMac since July, when the bank succumbed to the mortgage market meltdown.

The investors would gain control of a business with 33 branch offices and a $176 billion loan-servicing portfolio.

John Bovenzi, chief operating officer of the FDIC, recently told MME sister publication American Banker that the thrift is expected to fetch more than just a bargain-basement price. "The loans may not get full value, but they're still going to get value," he said.

IndyMac, an offshoot of Countrywide Financial, has as many as 49 creditors. Its failure may cost the Deposit Insurance Fund $8.9 billion.

In September, the Federal Reserve moved to make it easier for buyout firms to acquire stakes in bank holding companies. The Fed's guidelines allow private equity investors to acquire 33% of a bank's stock, including 15% of its voting shares and secure board representation.

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