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Takeover battle launched for LaSalle Bank, parent.

April 25, 2007

A group led by Royal Bank of Scotland has made a $98.5 billion offer for ABN Amro, the Dutch parent of LaSalle Bank. The bid is higher than the $90 billion deal offered Monday by London-based Barclays Plc.

A condition for the Edinburgh, Scotland, institution—along with bidding partners Santander Central Hispano SA and Fortis—is that ABN abort its pending, $21 billion sale of LaSalle to Bank of America, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., according to Bloomberg. LaSalle, based in Chicago, has offices in downtown Indianapolis and Carmel.

In the Indianapolis area, LaSalle concentrates on making loans of about $100 million and larger to companies, and is virtually nonexistent in the retail market. That has prompted local speculation that Bank of America would try to buy First Indiana Corp. or Huntington Bancshares of Columbus, Ohio, to establish a major retail presence.

One analyst told Bloomberg that Royal Bank probably would fold LaSalle into its Citizens Financial Group arm in the United States.

Citizens is headquartered in Providence, R.I. Its Charter One Bank unit has more than three dozen locations in the Indianapolis area.

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