How IndyMac sought help

Before federal regulators finally moved in, the Pasadena mortgage lender tried to attract the interest of more than a dozen private-equity firms, according to the LAT's Scott Reckard. The last-minute effort to pump cash into the faltering company, dubbed Project Iron Man, never came to anything. Among those on the list of potential investors: Thomas H. Lee Partners, Ares Management, Golden Gate Capital, Taconic Capital Advisors, Stone Point Capital and Oaktree Capital Management. JP Morgan had been hired as an advisor (the same JP Morgan that acquired the faltering Bear Stearns). Perhaps one reason IndyMac didn't get any takers is that private-equity firms are not in the business of rescuing companies on the brink of collapse. They just want to make money and these days, they are becoming quite selective.

Sources at the bank and among potential bidders were guarded in discussing the effort, citing confidentiality agreements and the fact that some of the firms involved may participate in the FDIC's planned auction of IndyMac, which the agency hopes to accomplish in 60 to 90 days. Project Iron Man appears to have reached only the initial stages when U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) publicly questioned IndyMac's stability in late June and criticized regulators' lack of action. His remarks spooked some depositors, and IndyMac customers withdrew $1.3 billion in 11 days, even as private-equity firms were reviewing IndyMac's operations behind the scenes.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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