ABN Amro may get bid from RBS, Santander

Mar 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2007, 05:48am hrs
Amro Holding NV shares may rise because any bid by Barclays Plc might be trumped by a joint offer from Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Spain's Grupo Santander, according to analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Ltd.

Jean-Pierre Lambert and John Holmes at the London-based brokerage raised their price estimate for ABN shares to 36 euros from 33 on Friday because of the possibility of another approach to the biggest Dutch bank. ABN stock was little changed in Amsterdam.

We believe joint bids are likely to come to the market, with two banks generating more synergies and therefore in a position to make a higher offer, the analysts wrote in a note to investors. We believe the likely timing of a counter-offer is shortly before the annual general meeting due on 26 April.

Shareholders of Barclays would be unlikely to support a bid of more than 35 euros per share, the analysts wrote. An offer of 40 euros a share would value ABN Amro at 76 billion euros ($102 billion).

RBS would overlap with ABN Amro in the US and wholesale banking, the analysts wrote. Santander would overlap in Brazil. A joint bid by the two banks would create potential cost savings of 16%, the note said. A successful Barclays bid would create cost synergies of 9%, according to their estimates. ABN Amros share-price estimate was also raised to 34.20 euros from 24.70 euros by Sigrid Baas, an analyst at ING Wholesale Banking. We don't think that ABN will continue to operate independently as before and neither do we foresee a full break-up of the company, said Baas in a note to investors. The chances that the current exclusive talks between Barclays and ABN AMRO will result in a deal seem to be rising. Baas doesnt exclude other companies from entering the arena.