U.S. News

Bank of America Appeals "Shocking" ABN Ruling: FT


Bank of America has accused a Dutch court of unlawful action by blocking its $21 billion purchase of ABN Amro's U.S. unit LaSalle Bank in an appeal filing, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

The paper said the Enterprise Chamber, the commercial court that last month supported calls from investors for the deal to be frozen in order to allow a shareholder vote, stood accused by Bank of America of breaching European Union and Dutch law.

The Dutch Supreme Court, which is hearing appeals by ABN and Bank of America over the frozen deal, will rule late this month or early July on whether ABN can go ahead with the sale of LaSalle.

In its appeal statement, Bank of America said it was "shocking" that the Enterprise Chamber "chose to disregard fundamental Dutch and European Union company law designed to protect third parties" for reasons that were "incomprehensible," according to the paper.

The suspended deal to sell LaSalle is central to the takeover battle for the Dutch bank.

ABN is weighing a 71 billion euro ($96 billion) buyout proposals by the Royal Bank of Scotland,  Fortis and Santander against an all-share offer by Barclays valued at 64 billion euros.

The Barclays offer is conditional on the successful sale of LaSalle to Bank of America, while the consortium made its offer conditional on the Chicago-based bank remaining part of ABN.

In early May, a Dutch commercial court froze ABN's agreement to sell LaSalle to Bank of America after shareholders argued that it prevented another bidder from making an offer for all of ABN and should be put to a shareholder vote.

A purchase of ABN would be the biggest-ever bank takeover.