After buying a Ventura County bank in 2011, Royal Business Bank in downtown Los Angeles has made another acquisition, this time in Orange County.

Royal, a Chinese-American bank, recently closed an all-cash deal to buy Los Angeles National Bank, a four-branch institution with $199 million in assets. Los Angeles National is headquartered in Buena Park.

With the acquisition, David Morris, Royal’s chief financial officer, said the bank will now be able to serve the local Chinese-American business community from Oxnard to Orange County. He added that Royal is still actively looking for acquisition targets.

“We want to be serving the Chinese-American community wherever it is located,” he said. “If there’s a large population of Chinese-Americans where it makes sense to have a bank, we’d like to be in that market.”

The acquisition boosts Royal’s assets to about $825 million and increases its branch locations to 11. Just a year and a half ago, before it acquired Ventura County Business Bank in Oxnard, Royal had just five branches, including one in Las Vegas, and about $320 million in assets.

Morris said some details of the acquisition have yet to be worked out. Both Royal and Los Angeles National have branches in Rowland Heights and Morris said executives haven’t decided whether to continue operating both, move one or consolidate. Likewise, no decision has been made on how or whether Los Angeles National’s management team will be integrated into Royal.

Street Fight

Vadim Perelman, managing member at Brentwood private-equity firm Baker Street Capital Management LLC, is gearing up for a fight with the board of British firm Xyratex Ltd., a maker of computer disk drives and other data storage products.

In a letter to the company last week, Perelman said Xyratex executives have been spending too much on product research and development, driving down profits and depressing share prices.

Baker Street is the company’s largest shareholder, with about 23 percent of shares. Xyratex stock closed Wednesday at $9.55, down 47 percent from a 52-week high of $17.96.

Xyratex spokesman Brad Driver said the company is communicating with Baker Street but had no specific response to the firm’s letter.

“We are intending to do what’s best for all of our shareholders,” Driver said.

Perelman did not return a call. In Perelman’s Jan. 14 letter, he called on the company’s board to appoint three independent directors and remove Richard Pearce, Xyratex’s chief financial officer, from the board.

“This board’s disregard for its shareholders’ concerns leads us to conclude that, as currently composed, the board cannot be trusted to conduct an objective analysis or pursue a sensible strategy that is best for the true owners of Xyratex,” Perelman wrote.

Carlyle Cleared

A deal reached last week should clear the way for Washington, D.C.’s Carlyle Group to acquire downtown L.A. asset management firm TCW Group Inc.

The acquisition has been in the works since August but was stalled by a lawsuit filed by EIG Global Energy Partners, also in Washington, D.C. That company, a TCW spinoff that competes with Carlyle, didn’t want Carlyle to have access to its proprietary investment information.

As part of the original EIG spinoff agreement, much of EIG’s $11 billion in assets are in funds jointly owned by the two firms. The deal announced last week allows TCW to maintain its ownership stake in those funds but hand off all management powers to EIG. One executive explained that will “keep Carlyle from getting a peek over the fence.”

In a Jan. 16 announcement, EIG founder Blair Thomas said his firm would support TCW’s sale and help secure investor approval.

Carlyle executives said their acquisition of TCW, now owned by French bank Société Générale S.A., should close soon.

C-Suite News

Matt Covington has joined Detroit financial advisory firm Conway MacKenzie Inc. as head of the company’s L.A. office. Covington was previously a managing director with Santa Monica’s Kibel Green Inc. …Vijay Mony has joined L.A. investment firm OpenGate Capital LLC as vice president of operations. Mony was previously with Alvarez & Marsal, a New York consulting firm. … Michael Miller has been promoted to chief executive of International City Bank in Long Beach. He replaces longtime bank leader Jane Netherton, who is now chairwoman. Miller was previously chief operating officer.

Staff reporter James Rufus Koren can be reached at jrkoren@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 225.

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