Dow Jones

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - Shareholders of People's Bancshares Inc. reelected the company's slate of nominees to the board over a slate nominated by a dissident shareholder group led by RCG Kingston LLC.

The bank holding company said Friday that it was gratified, calling the proxy fight a "difficult and time-consuming'' contest.

A group including New York investment adviser RCG Kingston had nominated three people to stand for election to the seats of the board members nominated by People's.

RCG Kingston representative Thomas Gillen said Friday that nearly 46% of the shareholders who voted at a June 16 meeting had backed the dissidents' slate. He estimated that the dissident group holds about 9.2% of People's shares.

In May, People's said it offered RCG Kingston a seat on the board proportionate to its stake in the company but that RCG rejected the offer. The same month, People's chief financial officer and chief operating officer Colin Blair said he thought RCG sought to obtain control of the board to hold a "fire sale'' of the company.

In early June, Proxy Monitor - a national institutional shareholder advisory firm - recommended that shareholders of People's vote for the company's nominees, not RCG Kingston's.

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