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Dutch banking giant ABN Amro is expected to announce Friday that its shareholders have voted in favor of selling the bank to a consortium led by the Royal Bank of Scotland for $101 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. A lower offer from Barclays expired Thursday. If approved, the deal could close October 19. The transaction will be the most expensive takeover in banking history and will result in the break-up of the 183-year-old bank by the consortium, which plans to split it into three parts. On April 23, ABN announced it had agreed to sell itself to Barclays for $85 billion. ABN also said it was selling LaSalle Bank, its Chicago asset, to Bank of America for $21 billion. That move was viewed by some shareholders as a poison pill designed to deflect the interest of the consortium, which wanted LaSalle. The shareholders sued but failed to stop the LaSalle deal. Undeterred, the RBS consortium raised the ante to a mostly cash offer of $99 billion in July. Barclays raised its bid 6%, but the market crisis took the wind out of its mostly stock offer. The win is "not the greatest thing that could possibly happen for RBS shareholders," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Antony Broadbent, since RBS is taking on the chunk of ABN that was most affected by the summer's problems in the credit market. Still, the group bid is expected to change the field of M&A. "ABN is a breakthrough," said Larry Slaughter, co-head of European M&A at JPMorganChase. "We see the formation of consortiums of corporates as a big event."

Sources: Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch
Commentary: RBS Consortium Doubles Stake in ABN AmroABN Amro Board Calls RBS Bid Superior, But Won't Back It
Stocks/ETFs to watch: ABN, RBSPY, FORSY, BCS. Competitors: HBC, DB, UBS. ETFs: RKH, EWN, KBE
Earnings call transcript: ABN Amro Q2 2007

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Source: ABN Amro Shareholders Expected to Approve Consortium Takeover On Friday - WSJ