BankUnited Inc. of Miami Lakes, Fla., is expanding into the New York market with a deal to acquire Herald National Bank for $71.4 million in cash and stock.

The deal, announced Thursday, had been rumored for several days and would be the first for BankUnited since the $10.7 billion-asset company went public in January.

It would also be a homecoming of sorts for BankUnited Chief Executive John A. Kanas, the CEO of North Fork Bank of Melville, N.Y., before it was sold to Capital One Bank in 2007. Kanas had been vocal of late about his desire to establish the BankUnited brand in the New York market, and the deal for the $501 million-asset Herald National Bank would accomplish that goal. Herald, founded in late 2008 largely to cater to commercial clients, has two branches in New York City and one in Melville.

Herald would initially operate under its own name as a subsidiary of BankUnited and its chairman and CEO, Randy Nielsen, would remain CEO after the deal closes.

"This combination is a great outcome for our shareholders and our employees and will allow us to better serve our customers," Nielsen said in a statement Thursday.

Under terms of the deal, BankUnited would pay Herald shareholders $22.9 million in cash and exchange a fraction of a share of BankUnited common stock for each share of Herald stock. The total deal price is equal to 1.4 times Herald's book value.


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