Ghaith Pharaon, the Arab financier who in the last week has bought part of one American company and offered to buy another, is trying to sell his stock in the Main Bank of Houston to former Texas governor John Connally and two partners.
Pharaon filed an application with the Texas Banking Department to sell his 20 percent share of Main Bank last week, Texas officials confirmed yesterday.
Pharaon asked to sell his stock to Connally. Frederick Erck, a prominent Texas banker and Khaled Bin Mahfouz, a Saudi Arabian banker whose family owns that country's largest bank.
None of the four could be reached for comment yesterday, Pharaon is represented in the United States by Houston attorney Frank Van Court, a partner with Connally in the law firm of Vinson & Elkins.
The four men purchased Main Bank last year for about $7.5 million, with Mahfouz putting up 50 percent of the money, Pharaon 20 percent and Connally and Erck each 15 percent.
Pharaon's application to the Texas Banking Department does not reveal how much of his interest each of the three other partners would purchase.
Nor is the selling price of the stock reported. Based on the price paid last year - when the bank was losing money - Pharaon's share would be worth about $1.5 million.
A Texas Banking Department spokesman said the application to sell the stock would probably be approved routinely because the three buyers were all investigated and approved by the agency when they bought the bank last year.
Pharaon's decision to pull out of the Texas bank apparently is related to his purchase a few weeks ago of controlling interest in the National Bank of Georgia from Bert Lance and other shareholders of the bank. Before buying that stock Pharaon pulled out of his first American banking investment, Commonwealth Bank of Detroit.
Although he has limited his involvement in banks to one at a time, Pharaom has not restricted his investments in other American firms.
Last Tuesday he offered up to $24 million for all or part of the stock of Hyatt International Corp., the company that runs Hyatt hotels outside the United States.
On Thursday Pharaon agreed to pay $5.5 million for 20 percent of CRS Design, another Houston company that is in the construction business.
Earlier in the month he made a public tender offer for between 500,000 and 900,000 shares of OKC Corp., a Dallas firm that manufactures cement and asphalt, does oil exploration and runs a dredging firm.
Pharaon also has said he will provide up to $5 million for a $100 million office and shopping complex in Dalls known as Plaza of the Americas.