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Starwood Capital Bidding for Corus: Report

Private-equity firm Starwood Capital Group is bidding on assets of Corus Bankshares (CORS), the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Barry Sternlicht, who controls Starwood Capital, wouldn't name the bank in a conference call Monday but said his firm was bidding on a bank that is heavily concentrated in real-estate lending and has more than 110 construction loans. People with knowledge of the matter identified the bank as Corus, the Journal reports.

Starwood is one of several companies that have shown interest in Corus, which focuses on condominium construction lending in South Florida and other now-troubled housing markets, the newspaper reports.

Corus didn't return calls for comment from the Journal.

Earlier this year, Corus was given a June deadline from bank regulators to raise capital or find a buyer, and Corus last month hired a crisis-management firm that specializes in restructuring distressed, midsize companies. If Corus was placed into receivership it would be the first major bank failure brought on by deteriorating commercial real-estate loans in this downturn, the Journal notes.

Construction loans accounted for 88% of the bank's outstanding loans at the end of the first quarter, according to the Journal.

Corus had $4.16 billion in outstanding loans as of March 31. In addition to the $499 million in foreclosed real estate on its books, it has $2.03 billion in "non-performing" loans, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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