White knights queue up for ABN Amro (Update)

Not only British bank Barclays, but Spain’s BBVA and France’s BNP Paribas are interested in a merger or takeover involving The Netherlands’ biggest bank ABN Amro, the financial press reported on Monday.

Barclays is to make a statement on the reports ‘before the start of business on Tuesday,’ the bank said in a short statement.
The speculation that ABN Amro was being targeted started at the weekend when UK newspaper The Sunday Times reported that Barclays and ABN Amro had been in informal talks.
Those talks reportedly began when British hedge fund TCI launched an attack on what it called the Dutch bank’s lacklustre performance. Barclays, the paper said, was willing to act as a white knight to see off TCI.
A merger between Barclays and ABN Amro (effectively a takeover by the British company) would create a banking giant with a value of some €116bn, with 47 million customers and 220,000 workers.
The Sunday Times also said that Barclays and ABN Amro had been in talks two years ago. At the time, Barclays was interested in ABN Amro’s international activities, particularly in Asia.
On Monday, Reuters reported that Dutch number two bank ING was also interested in a deal with ABN Amro, possibly in connection with its US, Italian and Asian activities. ING declined to comment on the ABN Amro reports but told ANP that it wanted to be part of the European consolidation process.

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