A stockholder's second attempt to acquire the majority share of a closely held Missouri bank has fallen short again.

F. Gilbert Bickel 3d, who inherited a minority interest in St. Johns Bancshares, upped last year's tender offer of $255 per share to $300 this year.

Stock in the $203 million-asset company, which holds St. Johns Bank and Trust, is owned by a number of St. Louis-area families. The Branneky and Wells families, two branches of the founder's family, own a majority of the stock.

"Mr. Bickel hopes one branch of the family will sell out," said Joe Porter, the bank board's attorney. He said Mr. Bickel wants to increase his share because he has disagreed with the way some aspects of the bank have been managed.

Mr. Bickel, a director of the bank, did acquire some shares through his latest tender offer, but his interest remains less than 20%. No members of the Branneky or Wells families sold shares to him, Mr. Porter said.

Neither Mr. Bickel nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

Mr. Porter said Mr. Bickel has not given up hope of taking control of the bank, and has tried to keep his relationships with other shareholders nonadversarial. "He figures once the price gets high enough, someone will sell," Mr. Porter said.

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