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Takeover saga goes on for ABN.

The battle to take control of ABN Amro intensified yesterday (mon) after the Dutch bank rejected a pounds 12bn bid proposal for its American banking business LaSalle from a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland.

ABN snubbed the pounds 12.3bn offer from RBS and its partners, Belgo- Dutch group Fortis and Spain's Santander, saying it did not constitute a "superior offer" to Bank of America's pounds 10.5bn deal for the bank. This is partly as the offer is conditional on a deal to buy the whole group for pounds 49bn. But ABN said it will put the offer to shareholders to enable them "to express views on the alternatives available to them at that time".

ABN said the proposal contained "uncertainty and execution risk" including regulatory, tax and legal issues. And it said it had not received detail on how the consortium intended to fund the acquisition.

RBS said in a statement it considered the consortium's offer superior as the price offered for LaSalle was "materially greater" than from Bank of America and would have led to a public offer for ABN.

The development marks the latest step in the takeover saga for ABN, the largest bank in the Netherlands, and comes after a Dutch court ruled ABN was wrong to approve sale of LaSalle without shareholder approval.

The decision opened the doors to RBS, but led Bank of America to file a law suit against ABN in the US to seek damages and an injunction to try to block sale of LaSalle to rivals.

RBS is trying to beat out ABN's previously recommended pounds 45bn merger with Barclays.

A takeover of ABN Amro would be the world's largest bank takeover.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 8, 2007
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