So it’s over – a six-month long battle resulting in the biggest takeover in financial services history and the break-up of the Netherlands biggest bank ABN Amro.
Shareholders must be rubbing their hands with glee. The mighty Children’s Investment fund, the hedge fund which started the whole thing rolling by criticising the bank’s performance, will be pleased indeed.
And ABN Amro chairman Rijkman Groenink – his performance was the reason the bank came under fire in the first place – will probably disappear into the sunset with a million or two.
So who else is set to benefit? Certainly not the Dutch government which has dithered on the sidelines muttering ‘its nothing to do with us’. Nor will Amsterdam or the Netherlands be better off – losing a global player does nothing for your reputation as a strong financial powerhouse.
And what about the workers? Well in the Benelux at least, thousands are set to lose their jobs. No-one seems to know yet exactly how many redundancies there will be or whether they will be on a voluntary basis, but the workforce is certain to shrink.
And then there are the customers. Six-months of upheaval has unsettled many. Thousands have left and others are wondering what will happen now.
ABN Amro’s old shareholders may have done well for now, but the bank’s new owners will have their work cut out to prove to their own shareholders that they have not paid over the odds. And they will also have to keep the customer satisfied. And it is customer – not shareholder – satisfaction, which will count in the end.
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