In an outburst in the Dutch commercial court, ABN Amro CEO
Rijkman Groenink described ABN Amro as a "toy of shareholders".
In a seemingly carefree way, shareholders choose whether to
sell, dismantle or cling on to it. Those following the battle
for ABN Amro will understand Groenink's frustration with his
activist investors, expressed before the Dutch commercial
court, which had convened to hear arguments in favour of
halting ABN's proposed sale of its US banking operations, La
Salle, to Bank of America.
But activist shareholders are just one of the group of
children at play in the fight for control of ABN.
At a European Parliamentary hearing on cross-border
consolidation in January last year, Charlie McCreevy, the EU
Internal Market Commissioner, spoke of his concern with regard
to EU financial market competitiveness and his determination to
remove obstacles to cross-border banking mergers. In March, the
European Central Bank published a...