Veteran banking analyst Richard X. Bove has resigned from Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., after disagreeing with the Miami company over how it should settle a defamation lawsuit brought by BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc. last year.

BankAtlantic sued Ladenburg Thalmann in July, claiming Mr. Bove defamed the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company in a research report titled, "Who Is Next?"

The report was issued July 13, two days after the failure of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. of Pasadena, Calif. It speculated about other banks in danger of failing. BankAtlantic's lawsuit, filed in Broward County, Fla., in late July, said Mr. Bove negligently lumped BankAtlantic into a group of companies thought to be vulnerable to failure.

Mr. Bove said he left Ladenburg Thalmann because the company wanted to settle the claim by publishing a statement saying he was sorry he issued the report.

"I can't settle a lawsuit that has no merit, so it was an untenable situation," he said in an interview Wednesday.

Mr. Bove, who resigned from Ladenburg Thalmann on Tuesday, joined Rochdale Securities of Stamford, Conn., the same day.

Though Mr. Bove's report did not name BankAtlantic, it did name BFC Financial Corp., which is a major investor in BankAtlantic. Alan B. Levan, BankAtlantic's chairman and chief executive, is also BFC's chairman.

BankAtlantic's stock lost a third of its value the day after Mr. Bove's report was issued. The suit had sought unspecified damages, though Mr. Bove said it appeared all BankAtlantic wanted was an apology.

Ladenburg Thalmann spokesman Jonathan Doorley said that the firm would not comment about the defamation lawsuit or the reasons for Mr. Bove's departure. "We thank Dick Bove for his contribution to Ladenburg and wish him the best in his future endeavors," he said. BankAtlantic did not return a phone call Wednesday.

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