CORRECT: Treasury Begins 2 Secondary Offerings Of BAC Warrants

Date : 03/01/2010 @ 6:09PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. (TCBI)
Quote : 99.0  0.0 (0.00%) @ 2:05AM

CORRECT: Treasury Begins 2 Secondary Offerings Of BAC Warrants

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)
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The U.S. Treasury Department is poised to earn more than $1 billion this week auctioning warrants in the nation's largest bank by deposits.

The Treasury Department on Monday announced it would auction warrants it obtained by rescuing the Bank of America Corp. (BAC) in 2008 and 2009 on Wednesday.

Treasury owns two separate blocks of warrants in Bank of America.

Treasury plans to start bidding for 150.4 million warrants with a strike price of $13.30 a share at $7.00 each. It plans to start bidding on 121.8 million shares with a strike price of $30.79 at $1.50 each.

Taxpayers earned more than $1 billion in December when Treasury auctioned warrants in three banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM). The gain could be higher in this round of four auctions headlined by Bank of America.

Warrants are essentially options with much longer exercise periods - nine years in the case of these bank warrants. They give the holder the right to buy common shares at a set price in the future.

Linus Wilson, professor of finance at the University of Louisiana, estimates the first 121 million warrants have modest value of between $1.65 and $5, with a mid-range value of $2.90.

The second block of 150 million warrants is much more valuable, according to Wilson. He estimates these warrants are worth between $5.31 and $9.08, with a mid-range value of $6.87.

Combined, the two blocks of warrants are worth between $1 billion and $1.9 billion with a mid-range value of $1.3 billion, he estimates.

In its annual report filed Friday, Bank of America discussed its $45 billion federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, investment and said it expected the Treasury Department to auction its warrants soon.

By comparison, Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), which also filed its annual report last week, didn't mention an auction. Wells Fargo repaid its $25 billion TARP investment at nearly the same time as Bank of America, but its annual filing only says that "Treasury continues to hold the warrant."

In addition to Bank of America, Treasury has disclosed its intent to sell warrants in three smaller banks: Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. (TCBI), Signature Bank New York (SBNY), and Washington Federal Inc. (WFSL) of Seattle.

Wilson estimates the mid-range of value for the warrants in Texas Bancshares at about $4.3 million, Signature Bank $7.9 million and Washington Federal at $11.2 million.

- By Meena Thiruvengadam and Steven D. Jones, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6629;


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