Shareholder approval not needed for LaSalle sale (UPDATE)

The High Court in Amsterdam this morning ruled that ABN Amro bank can sell its LaSalle subsidiary to Bank of America without asking for shareholder approval. The ruling, which overturns a lower court decision, clears the way for Barclays to take over the Dutch banking group.

Dozens of foreign journalists and tv crews had set up camp outside the court for the ruling, which is an important milestone in one of the biggest financial sector takeovers of all time.
Earlier, the company court ruled that the $21bn sale of LaSalle had to be put to shareholders and froze the deal. ABN Amro wants to sell LaSalle and then merge with UK’s Barclays. However, a rival consortium wants to take over the entire ABN Amro group, including LaSalle. It argues that the sale was a poison pill to thwart its takeover efforts.
The Barclays takeover is an all-share deal, valuing ABN Amro at around €64bn. The consortium offer is a cash-share deal, which values ABN Amro at some €71bn.
Now the court has ruled that the LaSalle sale can go ahead, the consortium (Royal Bank of Schotland, Spain’s Santander and Belgian Fortis) is likely to revise its offer, analysts say.

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