NYSE Euronext to investigate ABN Amro
10 July 2007, AMSTERDAM (AP) - NYSE Euronext Inc. has joined Dutch and British financial authorities in examining trading patterns in ABN Amro's shares and American depository receipts in the period before the multibillion euro bidding war over ABN became public, the bank said Tuesday.
10 July 2007
AMSTERDAM (AP) - NYSE Euronext Inc. has joined Dutch and British financial authorities in examining trading patterns in ABN Amro's shares and American depository receipts in the period before the multibillion euro bidding war over ABN became public, the bank said Tuesday.
The EUR 71 billion takeover battle is the largest in the history of the financial sector, and dozens of major players on Wall Street and in the London financial world have been involved as stockholders, brokers or advisers to one of the parties.
However, there was nothing to indicate the NYSE investigation is more than a standard review it carries out when any publicly listed company is acquired.
"We have received a request from the NYSE regarding transactions ahead of the announcement of our merger talks with Barclays," spokesman Neil Moorhouse said, reading a prepared statement. He added ABN was cooperating with the investigation and said he couldn't comment on whether there was any specific reason to suspect insider trading.
ABN shares began a long upward trajectory in November 2006, that accelerated in February when hedge fund TCI demanded the company take drastic action to sell or split itself to improve returns to shareholders.
In March, ABN announced it was in merger talks with Barclays and in April RBS launched a counterbid.
In May, the Dutch financial watchdog AFM warned parties involved in the takeover battle to disclose any market-sensitive information promptly. Although the AFM usually doesn't comment on whether it's carrying out an investigation, it was left little choice when Dutch shareholder rights organisation VEB published correspondence from the AFM on May 24:
"The AFM suspects that there have been contacts between the VEB and one or more institutions or persons who were involved in some way in the bidding process around ABN Amro before the subject got going in the media on Feb. 20," the letter said.
The VEB said later that, on the basis of discussions with the AFM, it didn't believe any of its members were suspected of insider trading.
British media reported that Britain's Financial Services Authority also examined trading in ABN shares shortly before the RBS counter bid.
[Copyright AP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news