U.S. News

Bank of America Sues ABN Amro over LaSalle Acquisition


Bank of America sued Dutch bank ABN Amro over the No. 2 U.S. bank's agreement to buy ABN's U.S. unit, LaSalle, seeking an injunction barring the unit's sale to any other party.

Bank of America also said in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, that ABN had been "unjustly enriched" by billions of dollars because of the premium that Bank of America agreed to pay in its $21 billion offer for LaSalle and sought unspecified money damages.

Meanwhile, ABN Amro continued to recommend its $88 billion merger agreement with Barclays but said it will work with the Royal Bank of Scotland consortium in a constructive manner, an ABN Amro spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

With pressure mounting on ABN's Chief Executive Rijkman Groenink to resign, spokesman Jochem van de Laarschot said: "A change in management has not been considered."

Clarity to Come on LaSalle

A Dutch court is likely to provide clarity on ABN's proposed sale of its U.S. unit LaSalle as early as today, a source familiar with the matter said.

The Dutch commercial court on Thursday froze ABN's planned $21 billion sale of LaSalle to Bank of America, but ABN asked the court for clarification on what the decision meant for a "go shop" clause that was part of the deal. The go shop clause, which allows counterbids for the unit, was due to run until midnight New York time on Sunday.

The court will act quickly, and could also rule on Saturday if needed, "because of the important things that need to be know in the next 48 hours on how to go forward," the source said.

A spokeswoman for the court said it "can respond within 24 hours theoretically speaking" but could not say how quickly a response would come.