Monday, July 16, 2007
Fortis, RBS and Santander announced today that they intend to proceed with their proposed offer for ABN AMRO. The consortium left the consideration per ABN AMRO share being offered unchanged at €38.40 but raised the cash component to approximately 93% (€35.60 in cash plus 0.296 New RBS Shares for each ABN AMRO share). The offer values the equity of ABN AMRO at €71.1 billion or $98.03 billion.
The prior bid has been 79% cash. It was also conditioned upon a shareholder vote with respect to the LaSalle Bank sale and withheld €1 a share to cover costs for litigation over ABN's LaSalle bank unit. This condition and the withholding have been dropped in this bid in the wake of the Dutch court ruling upholding the sale of LaSalle Bank to Bank of America. Instead, RBS issued a press release today stating that the net cash received from the LaSalle sale will go to RBS. The new RBS consortium offer puts significant pressure on Barclays to raise its competing all-share bid which currently values ABN AMRO at about €65 billion.
ABN AMRO's securities are registered with the SEC and it has greater than 10% of its shareholders resident in the United States disqualifying the RBS-led group from using the SEC's cross-border exemptions. Accordingly, there will be two offers made by the RBS consortium: one to U.S. shareholders and ADS holders wherever located governed by U.S. rules and one to all other shareholders governed by Dutch rules. In connection with the U.S. bid, RBS will need to prepare and file with the SEC a registration statement on Form F-4. However, unless ABN AMRO cooperates, the RBS consortium will not need to include in the F-4 the usually required U.S. GAAP pro forma financial information for the combination. This omission is permitted by Rule 409 of the Securities Act since the information is reasonably unavailable (usually required ABN AMRO auditor consents can also be omitted under Rule 437). And it is a way for hostile bidders in cross-border transactions to gain timing parity by having to avoiding the time-consuming process of preparing this financial information.