Banks sanguine over new takeover code

Just their luck. With what could be the biggest-ever European merger currently being bashed out by Dutch banking giant ABN Amro and Barclays, the Netherlands isintroducing a new takeover code, which is set to come into force on 1 May.

What might complicate matters is if rival bidders enter the fray, and at what point.

Meanwhile, lawyers working on the £80bn talks are playing down the changes, which basically amount to limiting the time an offer can be left open to 10 weeks, with one extension right. A corporate partner advising ABN on the deal said the changes were “highly technical, but in the grand scheme of things not a real sea change. There’s new stuff to plan around and structure, but it doesn’t give anyone a particular advantage.”

Advising for Barclays, a partner was equally sanguine, saying: “We’re factoring it into our structuring.”

ABN is being advised by Allen & Overy, Davis Polk & Wardwell and Nauta Dutilh, with its supervisory board looking to Stibbe, while Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell are advising Barclays.