Dutch Court Blocks Bank Merger

Court rules ABN Amro can't sell LaSalle, which jeopardizes Barclay merger
By J. Kelman,  Newser User
Posted May 3, 2007 1:47 PM CDT
Dutch Court Blocks Bank Merger
Barclays' John Varley, left, and Rijkman Groenink, chairman of ABN Amro, right, attend a press conference at ABN Amro's headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Monday, April 23, 2007. Barclays PLC said it agreed to buy the Netherlands' ABN Amro Holding NV for 67 billion euro ($91.16 billion) in...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – A Dutch court has blocked the sale of ABN Amro's LaSalle Bank, throwing Amro's proposed merger with Barclays into jeopardy. The move—which the court says is intended to protect shareholder interests—could spark a new bidding war over the Dutch bank, whose $87.5 billion proposed merger with Barclays has been slammed by shareholders as a lowball deal.

Amro can't finance its end of the deal without the LaSalle sale, and analysts say that opens the door for a lurking consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland to swoop in. After the ruling, "it is much more likely that Royal Bank will win the day," says one analyst. The offer could come in as early as tomorrow, Bloomberg reports. (Read more ABN AMRO stories.)

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