Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Saturday signed legislation that will help to protect the managers and directors of Sovereign Bancorp from dissident shareholders, but not without some reservations.

The Democrat governor issued a statement saying he has signed Bill 595, which is intended to protect senior executives at the Philadelphia bank. Its largest shareholder, San Diego-based Relational Investors LLC, has been lobbying to replace chief executive Jay Sidhu and prevent the multibillion-dollar three-way transaction he masterminded last autumn.

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