AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- A Dutch court rules that ABN Amro must seek shareholder approval before selling the Chicago-based LaSalle Bank for $21 billion to Bank of America.
The ruling is a setback for ABN Amro's management, which has been determined to accept a buyout offer by Barclays after it sheds LaSalle.
The sale was widely seen as a move intended to derail the Royal Bank of Scotland group, since it wants LaSalle.
The court says the sale of LaSalle was so interwoven with the Barclays takeover bid that it should have been put to the shareholders for a vote. ABN had said the deal was too small to demand shareholder approval.
ABN management contends the consortium wants to carve up ABN's businesses, a strategy likely to lead to mass layoffs and not in the best interest of long-term shareholders.
Bank of America is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bank of America spokesman Scott Silvestri says they're reviewing the ruling and have no comment.
Opponents of the sale praised the ruling.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)