Investors back consortium says ABN boss

A majority of ABN Amro’s shareholders support the mainly-cash takeover bid by the consortium of three banks, chairman Rijkman Groenink says in an interview with Saturday’s NRC Handelsblad.

Groenink said he preferred the Barclays bid. ‘It is better in terms of content but not enough in terms of money,’ he told the paper.
The consortium, made up of Royal Bank of Scotland, Fortis and Santander, has offered €71bn for ABN Amro. Barclays is offering a share-based €65bn but is considering increasing its offer or adding a cash element.
‘We are taking into account the fact the consortium may win,’ Groenink said. ‘The difference (in bids) is too big for many investors to actually look at the Barclays offer.’ In particular hedge funds and US professional investors ‘are interested in one thing, the highest price in cash and today please,’ he said.
Barclays wants to keep the ABN Amro group intact. The consortium plans to break it up, with Fortis taking over the Benelux operations.
On Friday evening, ABN Amro’s central works council gave its unanimous backing to the Barclays deal. However, the works council has only examined the Barclays bid and has not been asked by the board to look at the consortium’s offer.

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