U.S. News

Consortium to Clarify ABN Amro Stance on May 27


A consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland seeking to buy ABN Amro is keeping all options open on a possible offer and will clarify its position on Sunday, consortium member Fortis' chairman said.

"The 27th of May is also the date on which the banks of this consortium will clarify their position," Maurice Lippens told the company's annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday.

The consortium had previously said it would provide an update on the potential takeover before May 27.

Fortis joined the RBS consortium, which also includes Spain's Santander, to bid for Dutch bank ABN AMRO. It has not made a formal offer, but put forward a proposal of 71 billion euros ($95.5 billion).

The consortium has so far been rebuffed by ABN management, which has agreed to an all-share takeover by Britain's Barclays currently valued at 63 billion euros.

Lippens said the group had not yet determined what it would do, adding buying part of ABN AMRO would fit neatly with Fortis's strategy, but was not necessary to meet its long-term

"We are still deliberating our position," he said.

May 27 is the end of a 30-day period in which the consortium said it was considering an offer. It could put forward a formal offer, withdraw its interest or ask for an extension until a legal dispute about the sale of ABN's U.S. arm LaSalle Bank becomes clearer.

Fortis said if it decided not to announce an offer or withdraw its interest on Sunday then it would specify a time when such an announcement may be expected.