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Holding company will buy AmericanWest

Tue., Nov. 30, 2010

SKBHC Holding LLC is sole bidder

A newly formed bank holding company will be the lone bidder for AmericanWest Bank.

Competing bidders were required to make their interest known by 5 p.m. Monday. AmericanWest Bancorporation spokeswoman Kelly McPhee said no one stepped forward.

Attorneys told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Patricia Williams in a hearing earlier this month that Seattle-based Columbia Banking System, which had been considering a bid, would not participate in an auction set for Dec. 8.

AmericanWest Bancorporation, owner of AmericanWest Bank, filed bankruptcy Oct. 28. The Spokane company had already negotiated a $6.5 million sales agreement with SKBHC Holding LLC, which committed as much as $200 million more to recapitalize the bank.

Regulators have pressed AmericanWest for more than a year to replace capital wiped out by bad construction and real estate loans. The bank operates 58 branches in Washington, Idaho and Utah, and employs about 160 in Spokane, its headquarters.

Any bidder other than SKBHC would have had to offer at least $8 million for AmericanWest; the $6.5 million base bid, a $500,000 increment, and a $1 million fee to cover SKBHC’s costs.

Williams will review the sale in a Dec. 9 hearing.

“We look forward to working with the court to complete the sales process on Dec. 9,” McPhee said.

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