It was inevitable, really. Fred Goodwin‘s RBS has now announced
that it is going to make a hostile takeover bid for ABN Amro, in concert with
its partners Fortis and Santander. ABN was clearly never negotiating in good
faith with Goodwin’s group, so now he’s going straight to the shareholders,
68% of whom, at ABN’s annual meeting, voted
in favor of a motion implicitly siding with the Scots.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other banker who’s ever
made a major hostile takeover bid: Goodwin does seem to be made of stern stuff.
The battle lines are now drawn: Goodwin and ABN’s shareholders, on the one hand,
versus ABN CEO Rijkman Groenink and Barclays CEO John
Varley, on the other. Where ABN’s unions and the Dutch central bank
come down is likely to be crucial.