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BankAtlantic Bancorp (BBX) could open up an additional stock purchase to its existing shareholders Feb. 27 via a rights offering if the planned deal with BB&T (BBT) falls apart.

The BB&T deal, announced last fall, would transfer BankAtlantic's retail business to BB&T, but holders of BankAtlantic debt scoffed at the deal and filed a lawsuit to block it. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based BankAtlantic would hold onto nonperforming loans and REO properties.

A Delaware judge will likely rule on the case by March 1, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

Officials at BankAtlantic still expect the deal to close in the first or second quarter this year, but the bank notes that it is subject to closing conditions, including the resolution of some previously disclosed pending litigation.

The bank said it may sell stock to raise additional capital to maintain its Tier 1 capital requirements if it's determined that the sale won't go through by April 2.

Two other lawsuits involving BankAtlantic remain unresolved, including charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission that BankAtlantic and Chief Executive Alan Levan misled investors on bad loans in its real estate portfolio.


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