Dow Jones

NEW YORK - Dime Bancorp confirmed Friday that 70% of the shareholders represented at its annual meeting withheld their votes from management's five nominees to the board. North Fork Bancorp, which began a hostile bid to buy Dime four months ago, had announced the results of the meeting July 14.

As reported, North Fork takes the result as a sign that Dime's shareholders do not support its efforts to thwart a potential deal with North Fork. In a press release Friday, Dime said owners of 79.1 million, or 71%, of its common shares outstanding were represented in person or by proxy at the meeting. Of these, the owners of 30% of the shares voted for the nominees.

The five directors, each of whom got no less than 23.7 million votes, are: J. Barclay Collins 2d, James F. Fulton, Virginia M. Kopp, Sally Hernandez-Pinero, and chief executive officer Lawrence J. Toal.

Under Dime's charter and by-laws, the nominees have been elected as directors and will not have to be proposed for reelection until the 2003 annual meeting. North Fork, however, said it has "no choice" but to begin litigation in Delaware Chancery Court that would seek to invalidate Dime's position.

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