At least some Riggs National Bank shareholders have withdrawen their offers to sell stock to Washington businessman Joe L. Allbritton, whose takeover attempt was delayed Thursday by a temporary restraining order.
According to one source, a few hundred shares of the 687,764 shares that stockholders have offered to sell Allbritton have been pulled back in the midst of the battle between incumbent management and the Texan.
An attorney for Albritton said Thursday in court that no shares had been withdrawn, despite a letter to shareholders by Riggs management opposing the Allbritton attempt and published accounts of the bank's allegations that the attempt may violate federal banking and securities laws.
A spokesman for Skadden, Arps -- the law firm representing Allbritton -- said yesterday that the statement on there having been no withdrawals was true when it was made -- to the extent that the firm had not been informed at that point of any withdrawals.
"It was all so quick. Allbritton tried to rush this thing in," said one shareholder who pulled back an offer to sell shares. "When I got the letter from the bank that spelled it out to me, I withdrew my shares."
On Feb. 9 Allbritton offered to buy at least 600,000 shares of stock in the city's largest financial institution at $67.50 a share. The week before the offer was made, the stock closed at $50 a share. Yesterday early in the afternoon the stock was trading at $60.6 12 1/2 cents.
As long as the stock is trading below Allbritton's offer price, stockholders have a disincentive to withdraw offers to sell. Another factor that probably is operating in Allbritton's favor is that brokers are being paid $1 a share fee for each share they produce. If the offers to buy are withdrawn, brokers will lose that part of the fee.