LaSalle Bank sale frozen by Dutch judge

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A Dutch judge has ruled that Netherlands-based ABN Amro Holding NV cannot spin off its LaSalle Bank arm without shareholder approval, according to Bloomberg and other news outlets.

Today’s ruling halts the pending $21 billion purchase by Bank of America, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The sale was announced April 23.

LaSalle is headquartered in Chicago; in Indianapolis, LaSalle focuses on corporate loans of $100 million and larger.

LaSalle’s virtual absence in the Indianapolis-area retail market prompted local speculation that Bank of America 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.

An ABN shareholder, VEB, claimed in the Amsterdam court that ABN was trying to use the sale of LaSalle to avoid a bidding war.

Also April 23, ABN said it had agreed to be acquired by London-based Barclays Plc for $86 billion.

Two days later, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, based in Edinburgh, said it and two other banks would bid more for ABN, but that LaSalle would need to remain with ABN for the offer to be effective.

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