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Bank Stock Investors Should Pick Spots in Coming M&A Wave: Street Whispers

Meanwhile, a string of recent bank mergers highlighted by M&T Bancorp's (MTB) $3.8 billion acquisition of Hudson City (HCBK) and FirstMerit's (FMER) near $1 billion deal to buy Citizens Republic Bancorp (CRBC) are notable because they show a trend of financial sector consolidation may not net shareholders big takeover premiums. Both deals also came at relatively small premiums and far below share highs prior to the crisis.

For bank investors looking to catch a bid on a sector-wide consolidation, KBW highlights TPG Capital backed EverBank (EVER) and Carlyle backed Boston Private (CRBC) as potential sellers with an outperform rating.

KBW gives market perform ratings to Wilbur Ross, Carlyle and Blackstone-backed BankUnited (BKU) and First Republic Bank (FRC) -- carved out of Bank of America in a management buyout - but highlights both banks as possible sellers over the long term.

As with West Coast Bancorp, private equity investors in BankUnited and First Republic Bank have already netted investment returns of 100%, in successful crisis-time investments. Investors trying to catch a M&A tailwind should expect much less.

For more on private equity deals, see why Goldman Sachs is cutting its private equity future by half. Also see why a dividend is key to Carlyle Group's stock strength.



-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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