Barclays concedes defeat in ABN battle

LONDON Fri Oct 5, 2007 8:09am EDT

The ABN Amro logo is seen in central London May 29, 2007. An intense takeover battle for the Netherlands' biggest bank ABN AMRO neared its conclusion on Friday with a trio of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland seen as the likely winner. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

The ABN Amro logo is seen in central London May 29, 2007. An intense takeover battle for the Netherlands' biggest bank ABN AMRO neared its conclusion on Friday with a trio of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland seen as the likely winner.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Hird

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Barclays (BARC.L) has conceded defeat in the seven-month battle for Dutch bank ABN AMRO AAH.AS, as rivals led by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) move in to clinch the world's biggest bank takeover.

The result had been widely expected after a fall in Barclays' share price saw the value of its bid slip well behind the 71 billion euro ($100 billion), mostly-cash offer from the RBS consortium, which also includes Spain's Santander (SAN.MC) and Belgian-Dutch group Fortis FOR.BR.

Barclays said the merger protocol with ABN was now terminated, and that it was requesting payment of the 200 million euro break fee, which it said would "significantly exceed the costs that Barclays incurred in connection with the offer".

The bank also said it would restart its buyback program, with up to 1.55 billion pounds ($3.16 billion) available to purchase a maximum of 196 million shares for cancellation.

The consortium is expected to announce the results of an ABN shareholder vote on its bid on Monday, and to declare its offer unconditional by the end of next week.

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