London: A consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland proposed a counter bid for ABN Amro on 25 April 2007, valuing the Dutch group at €72.1 billion (Rs4,02,400 crore) and marking the biggest banking battle ever.
The move by three European banks topped an offer of €67 billion made by British bank Barclays on 23 April and highlights a dramatic contest between European banking groups to expand globally.
The RBS consortium, which had cancelled talks with ABN earlier this week, said its new takeover proposal was pitched at €39 per share, compared with Barclays’ offer of €36.25 per share.
The proposal was at “a price indication of €39 per share, subject to due diligence,” said a statement from the consortium which also comprises Dutch-Belgian group Fortis and SCH of Spain.
“This would be 13% higher than the value of the Barclays offer as of the market close (on 24 April).”
The consortium added: “The banks are of the clear view that their proposals are superior for ABN Amro’s shareholders and are straightforward from a shareholder, regulatory and execution perspective.”
The RBS grouping had cancelled a meeting with ABN Amro management on 23 April over a mooted takeover attempt, citing uncertainty over the Dutch bank’s sale of US banking unit LaSalle Bank to Bank of America.
The statement continued: “These proposals are contingent on LaSalle Bank remaining within the ABN Amro group.”
News of the counter-bid was warmly received by London-based hedge fund TCI — a key ABN shareholder which has previously threatened legal action if ABN did not talk to potential buyers other than Barclays.
“TCI welcome the news of the RBS consortium’s compelling offer for ABN Amro,” the hedge fund said in a separate statement.
Under the ABN-Barclays deal, which was unveiled on 23 April, ABN would sell LaSalle Bank to Bank of America for $21 billion (Rs86,139 crore) as a pre-condition for the merger.
The proposed friendly takeover of ABN by Barclays would create Europe’s second-biggest bank and mark the largest global banking merger ever — but it has sparked serious concern about job losses. The combined entity would be the fifth-biggest banking group in the world.
The Dutch bank has been underperforming for the last few years, failing to meet its own targets and was widely regarded by industry experts as being vulnerable to a takeover.