Barclays-ABN deal in doubt

Stephen Beard Apr 27, 2007

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS:It looked as though British bank Barclays had sealed the deal to buy Dutch bank ABN Amro. Not so fast — ABN shareholders have revolted.

A rival consortium has made a higher bid for the bank. It’s interested in ABN’s American property, LaSalle Bank. The board of ABN has already sold that institution to Bank of America in a side deal.

Shareholders are calling on the board to sell the bank to the highest bidder. Our London correspondent Stephen Beard picks up the story from there.

STEPHEN BEARD: The clock is now ticking on the sale of LaSalle to Bank of America — it becomes irreversible in nine days’ time. And that is pretty critical, because if that sale goes ahead, the consortium will very probably lose interest, and Barclays will win the day.

But a group of ABN shareholders is challenging that sale in court. They’re planning legal action to stop the ABN board from selling LaSalle. So, a supposedly done deal a week or so ago is now apparently wide open. Anything could happen — stay tuned for further developments.

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS:London correspondent Stephen Beard. The ABN board doesn’t believe the sale of LaSalle Bank requires the approval of shareholders.

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