MELVILLE, N.Y. - North Fork Bancorp could unveil a list of five nominees for the Dime Bancorp board of directors as early as this week.
The Melville, N.Y., company is pushing hard for its $1.9 billion hostile takeover of the New York thrift now that it has succeeded in blocking the slate of directors that Dime nominated at its annual shareholder meeting last month.
Late last Friday, North Fork said it would extend its offer to acquire Dime shares until Sept. 29. Already, North Fork said, Dime shareholders have tendered 18.5 million shares, about 17% of the outstanding shares of Dime.
John Adam Kanas, chairman and chief executive officer of North Fork, has vowed to win his bid by nominating his own group of director candidates at Dime's shareholder meeting next year. He claims his cause has gotten a boost by the outcome of last month's meeting, when 70% of the Dime shareholders who voted opted to withhold authority to reelect Dime's nominees.
North Fork contends that the showing was a message that Dime's own shareholders want the company to go in a different direction. "We will take over this company by taking over the board," Mr. Kanas said in a telephone interview Monday. "Dime is in a box."
Mr. Kanas said he had gathered about 30 names for his potential slate, all volunteers, but he would not provide more details.
North Fork may also press for a special meeting of Dime's shareholders that would come before next year's annual meeting, observers said.
Dime, through a spokesman, says it is returning to business as usual and "moving ahead" with its strategy. In June, the company announced it had gotten a $238 million investment from Warburg Pincus Equity Partners after a months-long strategic review.
The review was meant to help determine Dime management's options following the failed merger with Mahwah, N.J.-based Hudson United Bancorp in April. North Fork's surprise bid helped scuttle that transaction.
As part of the Warburg transaction, Anthony Terracciano, former chairman of First Fidelity Bancorp in New Jersey, joined Dime as chairman. Lawrence J. Toal remains as chief executive officer.