ABN Amro Receives $95.6bn Offer

UTRECHT, The Netherlands ~ A three-bank consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland launched an rival bid this week for Dutch bank ABN Amro, already the target of a friendly takeover bid by British bank Barclays.

The formal offer, which values ABN at 71.14 billion euros (US$95.64 billion), eclipses the agreed takeover from Barclays by some five billion euros.

Whichever bid succeeds, the deal would be the world’s biggest-ever bank takeover in financial terms, beating the previous record banking merger when US group Travelers bought Citigroup for $72.56 million in 1998.

The offer by Royal Bank of Scotland, Belgian Dutch Fortis and Spanish Banco Stantander will be 79 percent in cash, and values the ABN Amro shares at 38.40 euros each. However, the banks said they would retain one euro per share “pending the resolution of the LaSalle situation.”

The fate of ABN Amro’s American subsidiary LaSalle, which the bank has agreed to sell to Bank of America for $21 billion under the deal with Barclays, is at the centre of the takeover battle.

That sale has been seen as a so-called “poison pill” aimed at making ABN Amro less attractive to the hostile Bank of Scotland-led consortium, which wants to keep LaSalle in the group.

The Dutch Supreme Court has frozen the sale of the subsidiary until the shareholders can vote on the matter, a decision ABN Amro has appealed.

At the same time the Bank of America has taken legal action against ABN Amro for breach of contract, with billions of dollars of damages at stake.

The offer announced on Tuesday is conditional on the outcome of the vote of ABN Amro shareholders on the LaSalle sale, the consortium said.

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