ABN Amro Playing Horrible Game of Hard-To-Get With Barclays

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ABN Amro’s board decided over the weekend to withdraw its formal recommendation for a bid by Barclays, but it was only half-serious, and they were winking at the time (though that may have just been an involuntary spasm resulting from getting grapefruit in their eyes, which stings quite badly). ABN’s chief executive Rijkman Groenink said today that he supports the offer by the British bank and may formally recommend it to shareholders later, just not now, even though he sort of just did.
Groenick commented that "We continue to support the Barclays offer because we believe overall it is to the benefit of shareholders and stakeholders,” and the ABN-A board “still believes in the strategic rationale of the Barclays bid,” but they’re still “neutral.” So “neutral,” in fact, that they “acknowledged”—yes “acknowledged” numbers—that the 38.40 euros/ABN Amro share being offered by rival bidder Royal Bank of Scotland-Fortis Group of Belgium-Banco Santander Central Hispano is “higher” than Barclay’s proposed 35.73 euros/share. Because they're "neutral."
ABN's Chief Expresses Support for Barclays's Bid [WSJ]
Board to Remain Neutral in Bids for Dutch Bank [NYT]

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