Barclays has admitted defeat in its takeover of Dutch top bank ABN Amro, losing out to the Royal Bank of Scotland, Spain’s Santander, and the Belgo-Dutch bank Fortis. The seven-month battle had its final act on Friday when the trio’s deadline for share acquisition ended. They will now be counted over the weekend to see if their 71 billion euro bid has succeeded.
It appears their ambitions for ABN are to break it up, which will please the rebel shareholders who forced ABN to seek suitors after years of underperformance, and who now hope to cash in on unlocked value. RBS will get ABN’s investment and wholesale banking plus its Asian operations, Santander its Italian and Brazilian business, while Fortis gets the Dutch operations and wealth and asset management arms. Thousands of jobs are likely to be lost in the break-up.