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Bank of America goes to court to stop LaSalle sale

May 4, 2007

Bank of America has asked a New York court to stop Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV from selling LaSalle Bank to other buyers, according to Bloomberg.

ABN Amro announced April 23 that it had sold Chicago-based LaSalle to Bank of America for $21 million. The same day, ABN Amro also said it had agreed to be acquired by London-based Barclays Plc for $86 billion.

However, yesterday a judge in the Netherlands ruled that ABN Amro could not sell LaSalle without shareholder approval.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, based in Edinburgh, said after the Barclays and LaSalle sales were announced that it and two other banks would bid more for ABN. Royal Bank stressed that LaSalle would need to remain with ABN Amro for the offer to be effective.

In the Indianapolis area, LaSalle specializes in corporate loans of about $100 million and larger, but has virtually no retail presence.

Local observers think Bank of America, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., would try to buy First Indiana Bank or Huntington Bancshares of Columbus, Ohio, which recently took control of former Union Federal branches, to establish an instant retail presence.

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