ABN Amro goes double Dutch

Ostensibly there were no massive surprises concerning the line-up for the exploratory talks that might create an £80bn merger between Barclays and ABN Amro.

As revealed on www.thelawyer.com last week, Barclays turned to go-to advisers Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell. The firm is reportedly looking after the Dutch law aspects itself.

That’s not the case at magic circle rival Allen & Overy (A&O), which, despite the undoubted strength of its Dutch corporate practice, is being assisted by ABN Amro’s trusted Dutch firm Nauta Dutilh.

A source close to the deal says there was never any question of A&O and Nauta not being instructed by ABN, as the two firms were already advising the bank on what to do about The Children’s Investment Fund, a particularly active hedge fund that had been calling for the break-up of ABN even before the Barclays talks.

But it is apparently Davis Polk & Wardwell, teaming up with Nauta, that is doing the heavy lifting for ABN on the potential talks.