The biggest takeover in the history of the financial services industry – that’s banking to ordinary folk – is currently under way, with Holland’s own ABN Amro at the centre. It’s a complicated and confusing story but the bottom line seems to be: how much money will the lawyers and the consultants make out of it all?
ABN Amro wants to sell its American bank LaSalle to Bank of America and merge with Barclays. But three other banks, led by Barclay’s arch rival Royal Bank of Scotland, think they should be able to buy LaSalle instead.
We’ve already had one court case on this here in Amsterdam. They must be rubbing their hands with glee on the other side of the Atlantic. If shareholders don’t back the sale of LaSalle to Bank of America (and why should they when it would mean less money?) Bank of America will sue ABN Amro for many millions of dollars in compensation. Compensation for what exactly? The deal was apparently put together in just four days.
The lawyers and consultants are calculating their bills, the shareholders are getting rich and the big boys in the boardroom are in line for nice fat bonuses. So ABN Amro’s staff must be wondering what on earth is in it for them…
Whoever wins the battle in the long run, more revamps and shake-ups and major job losses are inevitable. At least it will mean more work for the redundancy lawyers.
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