First United in Maryland faces more pressure to sell

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First United in Oakland, Md., is facing more pressure to sell itself.

Rangeley Capital, which owns more than 1% of the $1.4 billion-asset First United's stock, said in a letter to the company that it makes sense for the board to explore a sale.

"Testing the waters does no harm to First United now that speculation already exists in the marketplace," Chris DeMuth Jr., Rangeley's portfolio manager, wrote. "Shareholders, including Rangeley, have long believed there is a significant amount of underappreciated value buried within First United’s underperforming shares."

DeMuth said he believes a sale price of about $30 a share is "very achievable" in the current market.

Carissa Rodeheaver, First United's chairman, president and CEO, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rangeley is the second First United investor to push for a sale.

Driver Management, which owns about 5% of First United's stock, suggested in September that company could sell for $26 to $33 a share.

Driver has said it may nominate three individuals to challenge for board seats at First United’s next annual meeting.

"The board now has a clear choice: Force an irrational, wasteful proxy contest to try to save itself or fulfill its obligations to shareholders by initiating a sale process," said Abbott Cooper, Driver's managing member.

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