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RBS Group Makes Bid for LaSalle

The group wants to pay $24.5 billion for ABN Amro's U.S. bank, <I>The Wall Street Journal</I> reports.

The battle over what will become of Dutch bank ABN Amro (ABN) has taken a new turn.

A bank consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland Saturday made a formal $24.5 billion bid for ABN¿s U.S. retail banking business, LaSalle bank, according to a report published Saturday on

The Wall Street Journal¿s

Web site. The report cited people familiar with the situation.

The consortium¿s bid is a direct challenge to

Bank of America's

planned $21 billion acquisition of LaSalle Bank.

ABN Amro already has agreed to sell itself to U.K. banking company


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for about $91 billion. The sale of LaSalle to Bank of America would be in conjunction with that larger deal.

But the RBS-led consortium, which also includes

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Banco Santander


and Fortis, has offered $98 billion for ABN Amro.

Although the RBS group¿s LaSalle bid is higher than Bank of America¿s, it comes with some conditions, including a requirement that the consortium get an agreement on a takeover bid for all of ABN Amro, according to the



The proposal submitted Saturday lacked complete details on the RBS consortium¿s financing arrangements, but the financing will be nailed down by a Sunday deadline, according to the report.

Another condition of the RBS team¿s LaSalle bid is ABN¿s settlement of various lawsuits stemming from its agreement to sell LaSalle to Bank of America, the report said. Among them is a lawsuit filed Friday by Bank of America that aims to enforce the deal.

The latest news comes just two days after a Dutch court froze Bank of America¿s purchase of LaSalle, saying a vote by ABN shareholder¿s is required.

The Dutch shareholder group VEB had asked Amsterdam's commercial court for an injunction against the LaSalle sale. The group argued that the deal acts as a "poison pill," making rival bids for ABN difficult, according to



Shares of ABN Amro ended unchanged at $49.90 Friday. Bank of America's stock gained a penny to close at $51.24.