Battle for ABN Amro heats up (update)

A consortium of three banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has offered €72bn for ABN Amro, starting what news agency Bloomberg describes as the biggest takeover battle in financial services history.

The new deal, based on €39 a share, would be paid for 70% in cash and the rest in stock. This is not only higher, but also more secure than Barclays’ offer, analysts said.
ABN Amro and Barclays announced on Monday that they had reached a €67bn takeover deal, based on a share price of €36.25.
The consortium, which also includes Dutch-Belgian group Fortis and Spanish bank Santander, wants to divide ABN Amro up between them. Fortis would take over the Benelux activities. The consortium have also urged ABN Amro to put its planned sale of US bank LaSalle on hold; RBS has its eye on these US operations.
ABN Amro said on Wednesday that it is prepared to meet the consortium later in the day. ‘As we told them earlier, we are open to discuss their plan and learn the details,’ ABN Amro said.
The Dutch bank also said it is actively soliciting alternative bids for LaSalle.
ABN Amro shareholders are due to meet on Thursday for the company’s annual general meeting. Hedge fund TCI, which launched an attack on ABN Amro’s performance earlier this year, has called on the bank’s management to recommend the RBS deal.
ABN Amro shares have risen 34% since takeover talks were announced a month ago.

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