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EU to rule on three-bank consortium's bids for ABN Amro by Sept. 19

The European Commission said on Thursday it will rule on takeover bids for Dutch bank ABN Amro by a three-bank consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland as early as September 19.

The European Union's antitrust watchdog said it had received applications for approval from the three banks and is reviewing the deal as three separate takeover bids. Royal Bank of Scotland, together with Dutch-Belgian group Fortis and Banco Santander of Spain, is offering €71.1 billion to buy ABN Amro, the largest ever in banking sector. The trio intended to break up the Dutch bank with each taking part of its operations, if they can win a bidding war against British banking giant Barclays, which formally launched its takeover bid worth €65.5 billion for ABN Amro earlier this month.

Barclays already won approval from the commission on August 6. The commission has put the Santander bid on a simplified fast- track approval process, which means its offer could be cleared automatically if there is no antitrust problem identified and no complaints received from rivals within 25 working days. Although the bids of Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis were under review of normal procedure, an initial deadline for the two decisions was also set at September 19. This deadline can be extended if the EU needs more time to examine problems. (english.people)