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ABN Amro break-up „not a problem”

Dutch regulators would not object in principle to a foreign bank trying to buy ABN Amro even if it planned to break it up and sell the parts.

Barclays has been in exclusive talks with ABN Amro about a tie-up for the past three weeks. Nout Wellink, president of the Dutch Central Bank, told the Financial Times that a restructuring would be „no problem whatsoever”. His comments may encourage other bidders to come forward. Royal Bank of Scotland has been cited as one potential bidder that might be able to pay a better price if it sold ABN Amro's Brazilian operations to another bank.

Barclays' talks with the Dutch bank were prompted by calls for a break-up from an activist investor The Children's Investment Fund. At the time, Nout Wellink told a Dutch newspaper that the break-up would be „a bridge too far”. Now, he appears to have changed his mind, having told the FT what will happen if a solid bank takes over with a strategy to restructure. „Let them come to the supervisor, and we will look at it, and when it looks fine there will be no problem whatsoever,” he said. (nytimes.com, BBC News)