Barclays stood by the value of its takeover bid for ABN Amro Friday, saying the rival consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland, which submitted a higher offer, could find it difficult to raise funds in the tight lending conditions, Reuters reported.
Barclays CEO John Varley told a shareholder meeting that the value of the Barclays offer "was genuinely representative of what has happened in the market in the last two months."
Earlier, he had said he was prepared to drop the 58 billion euros ($80.5 billion) takeover proposal for ABN Amro if it didn't meet its stringent economic criteria.
"The merger terms must satisfy our economic tests, which are tough … we will not lose sight of economic reality in our pursuit of the merger objective. And putting that bluntly, that means being prepared to walk away," Varley said in a statement ahead of a shareholder meeting.
But economists said it may not be very easy for Barclays to drop the bid.
"There's some debate on the terms and whether they can actually walk away," Jason Singer, M&A reporter at Wall Street Journal Europe, told "Power Lunch."
ABN shareholders are expected to decide between the two offers in early October. The RBS-led consortium's bid is 70 billion euros, consisting mostly in cash.
Shares of Barclays were 4.2% lower, RBS shares were 2.4% down and ABN was off by 1.5%, but the entire financial sector was lower on news Northern Rock was forced to request emergency borrowing from the Bank of England.