A New York investment fund reported a 9.1% stake in American National Bancorp, a Baltimore company that has been rumored as a takeover candidate for the past year.

Tontine Financial Partners reported in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week that it would seek discussions with management on how to maximize shareholder value. Tontine, which has a fund of small bank and thrift stocks, now owns 326,500 shares of American National stock.

Jeffrey L. Gendell, managing member of Tontine Management, the fund's general partner, said the fund bought the stock because it was inexpensive for a thrift in the Baltimore market. He said Tontine, which initially bought a 4.9% stake in the stock a year ago, took the opportunity to purchase 156,500 shares that became available this month.

The fund bought American National stock between $13 and $14.16 per share.

A. Bruce Tucker, American National president and chief executive officer, said he could not comment because he hadn't been notified of the filing.

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