H.F. Ahmanson & Co. said Thursday it would no longer contest the date of Great Western Financial Corp.'s annual meeting-scheduled for June 13.
Though it recently won a shareholder resolution that would have required the meeting by May 6, Ahmanson said Great Western's "delaying tactics ... have made it impracticable to hold a meeting to elect directors on a date meaningfully before June 13."
But Ahmanson, which is locked in a takeover battle for Great Western with Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., has not ceded all the ground on the contentious annual meeting question.
The Irwindale, Calif., thrift asked the Delaware Chancery Court Thursday to disallow any vote on the Washington Mutual merger offer until six weeks after the annual meeting. It is unclear when the court will rule on the request.
Delaying the vote is crucial, Ahmanson says, because it hopes to have three directors of its choosing elected to Great Western's board at the annual meeting. And at least six weeks is needed to give those new directors, if elected, a chance to convert at least a majority of Great Western's 11-member board.
Ahmanson's three proposed directors are: Wolfgang Schoellkopf, 64, the retired vice chairman and chief financial officer of First Fidelity Bancorp., which First Union Corp. acquired last year; Lawrence A. Del Santo, 63, the retired chairman and chief executive officer of Vons Cos., a California supermarket chain; and Robert T. Gelber, 61, a former partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.