Slaughters and Willkie Farr join action on ABN deal

Slaughter and May and Willkie Farr & Gallagher have emerged as the latest firms to scoop roles advising the trio of banks on an alternative bid for ABN Amro.

Slaughters is advising Santander, which, along with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Belgo-Dutch insurer Fortis, has confirmed that it submitted a joint letter to ABN Amro on 12 April “to express the banks’ interest in putting forward a proposal for the acquisition of ABN Amro”.

Willkie Farr has been instructed by long-standing client Fortis.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com today (16 April), Linklaters and Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek scored roles on the deal. Linklaters is advising longstanding client RBS, while De Brauw is representing Santander and Fortis.

ABN Amro had already drafted in Allen & Overy, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Nauta Dutilh to advise it on its exploratory talks with Barclays that could lead to an £80bn merger. The period of exclusive discussions with Barclays, advised by Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell, ends on 18 April.

Slaughters’ relationship with Santander dates back to the Spanish banking group’s £8.5bn acquisition of Abbey in 2004. Slaughters advised Abbey on that deal, facing its Spanish best friend Uría Menéndez for Santander. Slaughters then scored a place on Abbey’s legal panel after the takeover.