ABN boosts Linklaters’ Dutch offering

Linklaters appears to have finally won its battle to establish a Dutch law capability. The firm has advised ABN Amro Rothschild on the €2.5bn (£1.7bn) share offering by ABN Amro Holding, the largest equity offering by a Dutch issuer in several months.

Amsterdam managing partner Richard Levy said ABN’s choice of Linklaters illustrated his firm’s “confidence in the strength of our Dutch law practice and our high-quality UK and US law expertise”.

Levy added that the finance market had seen increased levels of activity, but that this was a major strategic acquisition for ABN. “It’s an accelerated M&A deal with a fast timetable, raising a significant sum of money,” he said. Linklaters has also advised the bookrunners, JPMorgan Securities and Lehman Brothers.

In 2002 the Netherlands’ largest firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek ended its formal alliance with Linklaters, having rejected merger advances from the magic circle firm (The Lawyer, 15 April 2002). Sources close to the firm said it preferred the “cultural advantages” of being an independent Dutch firm rather than feeling secondary to Linklaters’ London office.

Subsequently, Linklaters worked closely with leading Dutch outfit and Slaughter and May best friend Nauta-Dutilh. The Dutch firm advised ABN as issuer on this deal and banking partner Marc Blom confirmed that the market in Amsterdam was “picking up” after a slow year.