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Washington Mutual to acquire Bank United for $1.5 billion

SHARE Washington Mutual to acquire Bank United for $1.5 billion

SEATTLE (Bloomberg News Service) — Washington Mutual Inc., the largest U.S. savings and loan, agreed to buy Bank United Corp. for about $1.5 billion in stock to sell more financial services to consumers and small businesses in Texas.

Bank United holders will swap each share for 1.3 Washington Mutual shares. That values Houston-based Bank United at $42.66 a share, less than 1 percent more than Friday's closing price. Bank United's stock has climbed 56 percent this year.

Washington Mutual serves primarily the Pacific Northwest, California and Florida. Adding Bank United will give the company, based in Seattle, 155 banking branches in Texas, whose economy is growing faster than the nation's. Most of the branches are in the Houston and Dallas areas.

Following the purchase, Washington Mutual expects to cut costs by $87 million by 2002, in part through the elimination of 600 to 650 jobs. The acquisition will boost earnings per share starting in 2002, Washington Mutual said.

Washington Mutual has 2,000 bank, mortgage-lending and consumer-financing offices and $185.7 billion in assets.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. was financial adviser to Washington Mutual. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised Bank United.