JPMorgan Buys WaMu Assets

JPMorgan Chase, which will acquire the assets of the failed Washington Mutual, is becoming a major operator of advanced data centers.

JPMorgan Chase has acquired the assets of Washington Mutual (WaMu) for $1.9 billion after the huge Seattle thrift was seized by banking regulators Thursday. The deal marked JPMorgan's second acquisition of a failed institution, as it bought the assets of Bear Stearns in March. 

Washington Mutual had been seeking a buyer, but saw its financial condition deteriorate as depositors withdrew more than $16 billion between Sept. 15 and yesterday. JPMorgan Chase becomes the nation's second-largest bank, trailing only Bank of America, and is rapidly becoming a major operator of advanced Internet data centers.

WaMu's assets include a major data center at Sabey Corp.'s Intergate West development in Tukwila, Washington, and the company also has IT operations in San Antonio. The Bear Stearns assets purchased by JPMorgan included data centers in Whippany, New Jersey and MetroTech Center in Brooklyn, and a network operations center (NOC) within Bear's New York headquarters.

JPMorgan said it expects to spend $1.5 billion integrating Washington Mutual's assets, which includes severance pay for laid off workers and the cost of integrating the two companies' IT systems and real estate. The company said it expects to eventually close about 400 existing bank branches, but announced no details of its plans for data centers or other WaMu real estate holdings.

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