The Dutch bank ABN-Amro has withdrawn its formal support for a takeover bid from the British high street bank, Barclays, but also says it will not recommend the rival Royal Bank of Scotland bid to investors either. The Barclays offer had won the backing of the ABN-Amro board in April, partly because Barclays plannned to keep the biggest Dutch lender intact. ABN-Amro says it cannot recommend Barclays’ bid because the other is financially superior. Some analysts say chances of the 67-and-a-half billion euro Barclays offer succeeding are fading fast. But that does not necessarily mean the consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland will automatically get a clear run at ABN-Amro.
ABN-Amro says there are a number of significant risks surrounding the consortium offer, including uncertainty over approval from the Dutch finance ministry, and from shareholders of Fortis and the Royal Bank. The consortium bid is valid until the beginning of October. Fortis shareholders are due to vote on the deal next week, but the Dutch central bank might not rule until September. Barclays directors are still confident that their offer is better value in the long-run, and that the boards of ABN-Amro will be able to recommend it in due course.