The Dutch Supreme Court has handed Britain’s Barclays an important legal victory making it more likely it will be able to pull off the world’s biggest banking takeover – of ABN Amro of the Netherlands.
As part of that deal, ABN Amro is selling its US arm LaSalle to Bank of America and some shareholders said as, they had not been consulted, the sale was illegal.
The court disagreed and Judge Hans Fleers said: “ABN Amro’s directors are entitled to enter into an agreement with Bank of America regarding the sale of LaSalle. There should be no uncertainty about the implementation of this agreement, especially as third parties’ interests are involved at this stage.
Barclays and Bank of America said they were very pleased with the ruling, while Hein Hooghoudt, ABN Amro’s chief legal representative, called it “a very clear decision.”
The ruling deals a blow to a rival bid from a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland which has offered 71 billion euros in cash, but insisted that LaSalle remain part of the deal. Barclays has offered 63 billion euros worth of shares. But RBS and its partners are now expected to make a revised bid and Barclays may have to do the same.