Royal Bank of Scotland, part of a consortium with Fortis and Banco Santander Central Hispano, announced a possible counteroffer for ABN AMRO Holding that would value the bank 13% higher than Barclays €67 billion ($91 billion) bid, according to a news release.
The €72.3 billion proposal values ABN AMRO at €39 per share, 70% in cash and 30% in RBS shares. Barclays had offered €36.25 per share in an all-shares deal. However, the proposal hinges on keeping LaSalle Bank within ABN AMRO. The Barclays agreement depends on selling LaSalle to Bank of America for $21 billion.
RBS spokeswoman Carolyn McAdam declined further comment.
Most analysts expect Barclays to succeed, pointing to about £10 billion ($20 billion) in debt still available to raise its price. ABN AMRO stocks traded as high as €37.20 per share today, but closed at €36.21, suggesting market sentiment also favors Barclays.
ABN AMRO will meet with the consortium, according to a prepared statement. Banking analysts believe that if the RBS consortium acquires ABN AMRO, the most likely suitor for the asset management division would be Fortis, which is already a robust asset manager, running about €120 billion in Europe.
The Childrens Investment Fund Management a London-based hedge fund which earlier this year pressured for the breakup or sale of the bank to improve shareholder earnings welcomed the announcement. TCI Fund has about a 2% stake in ABN AMRO. The board of ABN AMRO must allow the RBS consortium full access to conduct due diligence immediately, TCI Fund spokesman Paul Kaju wrote in an e-mailed response to questions. The board must recommend the RBS consortium offer, subject to the diligence condition being met, and terminate the LaSalle Bank sale.