Abbey takeover by Spanishbank gets green light

14th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 October 2004, LONDON –Abbey National shareholders on Thursday approved by a large majority Banco Santander Central Hispano's EUR 12.3 billion takeover of the British mortgage bank.

14 October 2004

LONDON –Abbey National shareholders on Thursday approved by a large majority Banco Santander Central Hispano's EUR 12.3 billion takeover of the British mortgage bank.

Despite an acrimonious exchange of views between Abbey's retail shareholders and its board, 64.83 percent of shareholders, accounting for 94.6 percent of the company's shares, gave the green light to the deal, according to a preliminary count.

Abbey had needed the approval of shareholders representing 75 percent of
its shares.

The European Commission approved the proposed takeover of Abbey by Spain's
biggest bank last month.

Abbey first announced in late July that it had accepted a takeover bid from SCH of one new SCH share and a special cash dividend of 31 pence for each Abbey share.
 

The takeover will create Europe's fourth-biggest bank

The deal will see Abbey's 1.8 million shareholders get one SCH share plus 31 GB pence for every Abbey share they own.

On Wednesday, the takeover received a boost when the City watchdog said it saw no reason to block the offer.

The British Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it saw "no material impediments" to the proposed takeover.

SCH launched its offer for Abbey in July, and there was immediate speculation that a rival bid would come from a UK bank.

HBOS, the owner of the Halifax and Bank of Scotland, was seen as the most likely bidder, but last month it announced it would not be entering the race.

A bid from HBOS, or any other UK bank, was expected to have come under close scrutiny from UK competition watchdogs, especially given that a bid for Abbey by Lloyds TSB was blocked by regulators in 2001.

Many Abbey shareholders still hold the windfall shares they received when the bank converted from a building society and floated on the stock market in 1989.

Abbey shares were floated at a price of GBP 1.30, peaked at GBP 14.35 in 1999 and closed on Wednesday at GBP 5.92.

Earlier this week, SCH announced plans to assist Abbey's smaller shareholders who want to sell their stake when the takeover goes through.

Those investors with 2,000 or fewer shares in the bank will be able to sell them using SCH's free share-dealing facility, and will not, as was initially feared, have to fill in a Spanish tax return.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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