AMSTERDAM Oct 7 ABN Amro and its
largest shareholder, the Dutch state, are not looking for a
buyer and were deeply surprised by an approach by Sweden's
Nordea about a merger, an ABN Amro official said on
Nordea held exploratory talks about a merger as recently as
September with Netherlands Financial Investments (NLFI), the
Dutch government agency that holds a majority of ABN Amro
shares, but the approach was rebuffed, the official said.
"ABN is not in play. We were baffled by the approach by
Nordea and referred it to our largest shareholder, the (NLFI),
who rejected it. End of story," said the ABN Amro official,
speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Dutch state floated a 23 percent stake in ABN in
November 2015, privatising the bank seven years after it was
nationalised following a 24-billion-euro bailout.
"The political focus is taking the bank back to the stock
market, not doing a deal. It might have been different if they
had come along with a lot of cash, but that wasn't the case.
They would just end up with a lot of shares in an even larger
bank," the official said.
Another official, also speaking on condition of anonymity,
said: "Talks were held and NLFI recommended to the government
that the offer be turned down. There are currently no talks
ABN Amro shares rose as much as 2 percent to a near
six-month high in morning trade on Friday.
The Dutch government and NLFI, which holds the shares on
behalf of the Finance Ministry, declined to comment.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Adrian Croft)