Bank of America Corp. has agreed to sell First Republic Bank, which mostly serves affluent clients in California and five other states, to private investors for a price said to exceed $1 billion.
The buyers include private equity firms Colony Capital of Santa Monica and General Atlantic of Greenwich, Conn. They have partnered with First Republic Chairman James H. Herbert II and President Katherine August-deWilde in the deal.
The parties didn't disclose the price, but a person familiar with the matter said it was more than $1 billion. BofA said the transaction was expected to close in the second quarter of 2010.
Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, acquired First Republic when it took over Merrill Lynch & Co. in January. Merrill paid $1.8 billion in 2007 for the bank.
First Republic "wasn't a core business" for Bank of America, Scott Silvestri, a spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C., banking giant said, citing its other wealth-management operations including U.S. Trust as well as Merrill Lynch.
First Republic serves clients in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada and Oregon as well as in California. It had assets of $19 billion at the end of September.