November 2, 2011 / 11:41 PM / in 6 years

Wells Fargo buys $3 bln Irish bank loan portfolio

* Commercial real estate loans sold by failed Irish bank

* JPMorgan, Lone Star to buy other loans

Nov 2 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co said on Wednesday that it was under contract to buy $3.3 billion in loans, backed by U.S. commercial real estate, from Irish Bank Resolution Corp, formerly known as Anglo Irish Bank.

The San Francisco lender said it closed on the purchase of 25 loans with a face value of $1.5 billion on Oct. 25. Wells said it expects to acquire the remaining loans in the fourth quarter.

Reuters reported in August that after rounds of competitive bids, a group comprising Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Lone Star Funds had been the winners of a pool of U.S. commercial real estate loans with a face value of about about $9.5 billion that were sold by Anglo Irish Bank.

To attract buyers, the portfolio was broken into eight separate pools according to the performance of the loans and length to maturity.

A source familiar with the sale in August said that the total price paid for all the loans was between $7 billion and $8 billion.

JPMorgan won the first tranche, which comprised loans with a balance of about $1 billion to $1.5 billion, the source said.

Global distressed debt and equity investor Lone Star won the remaining five pools of sub-performing and non-performing loans. The five pools have a face value of about $5 billion.

Wells Fargo has been actively buying distressed U.S. loans, backed by U.S. commercial real estate, from Irish banks. Before winning part of the Anglo Irish portfolio, it purchased a $1.4 billion performing loan portfolio from the failed Bank of Ireland for about par.

Last week, another source said that Wells had teamed up with Blackstone Group LP to buy pool of loans with a face value of about $600 million from Allied Irish Banks Plc .

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