May 3, 2007 / 3:04 PM / 11 years ago

Dutch court tells ABN to freeze LaSalle sale

AMSTERDAM, May 3 (Reuters) - A Dutch court ruled on Thursday that ABN AMRO AAH.AS must freeze its $21 billion sale of U.S. unit LaSalle to Bank of America (BAC.N), opening up the possibility of a rival bid for the Netherlands’ biggest bank.

In a related deal to the LaSalle sale, British bank Barclays (BARC.L) is offering, with ABN management’s blessing, 63.26 billion euros ($86 billion) for ABN.

But a consortium of three banks led by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) is willing to pay more as long as LaSalle remains part of ABN.

Dutch shareholder group VEB, which asked Amsterdam’s commercial court for an injunction against the LaSalle sale, argued the deal acts as a “poison pill” making rival bids for ABN difficult.

    The court said while it was the decision of ABN AMRO’s management to sell LaSalle, the deal should be put to shareholders.

    ABN could face claims from Bank of America, in addition to a $200 million penalty if the LaSalle deal is not closed. There is, however, a “go-shop clause” that allows ABN to seek higher bids for LaSalle until Sunday, May 6.

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