Bos approves RBS-led bid for ABN
18 September 2007, THE HAGUE (AFP) - A bid of EUR 71 billion for Dutch bank ABN AMRO from a three-member consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland won the approval Monday of Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos.
18 September 2007
THE HAGUE (AFP) - A bid of EUR 71 billion for Dutch bank ABN AMRO from a three-member consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland won the approval Monday of Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos.
Fortis said the decision by Bos meant it was a step closer to completing the banking sector's largest ever takeover attempt along with its partners Royal Bank of Scotland and Spain's Santander.
"This is an important step towards the completion of the banks' offer for ABN AMRO," a statement from the Dutch-Belgian group said.
Bos issued a declaration of no-objection but imposed conditions which the consortium was "confident" could be satisfied, Fortis said.
The three-bank consortium has to present a "robust and detailed" transitional plan for ABN AMRO to be approved by the Dutch central bank DNB within two months.
The consortium must also avoid making any major changes to the structure of ABN AMRO without notifying the central bank of them in advance.
This is not the final hurdle for the three banks as they still need to win approval from the European Commission, the deadline for which recently moved forward to 3 October.
Besides the consortium, British bank Barclays is also vying to takeover ABN AMRO and has already received the approval of the Dutch finance ministry and the European Commission.
ABN AMRO has been at the centre of the biggest takeover battle in the banking industry for months. The consortium is offering around EUR 71 billion largely in cash.
Barclays' offer, mostly a share swap, is worth about EUR 60 billion.
ABN AMRO initially backed the Barclays bid but it withdrew support in June after the consortium made a far more substantial offer. However, ABN AMRO stressed over the weekend that they could not recommend the consortium bid because they plan to break up the bank and split it among the members.
On Sunday ABN AMRO chairman Rijkman Groenink conceded that Barclays bid would "probably" fail.
"We really have to assume that the markets will not change the coming weeks and accordingly the chance that the Barclays shares will rise enough to surpass the consortium bid are fairly small," he told Dutch NOS television.
At the same time, he added that the board of directors "couldn't bring themselves to recommend the break-up of the bank."
ABN AMRO has scheduled a shareholders' meeting on 20 September to discuss the rival bids, with many shareholders thought to prefer the consortium offer. There will be no votes at the meeting, ABN AMRO said.
Last Friday, a Barclays shareholders' meeting backed the British bank's takeover plans.
However Barclays chief executive John Varley stressed at that meeting that the bank was "prepared to walk away if we can't conclude the transaction on the right terms."
[Copyright AFP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news