The €70bn (£48bn) purchase of ABN in 2007 by a consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Spain’s Santander and Belgian-Dutch group Fortis saw Fortis agree to sell Dutch assets to alleviate EU concerns about the deal’s impact on competition.
European competition commissioner Neelie Kroes has been outspoken about her intention to shrink banks which have benefited from state aid, such as Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group, with disposal of assets the favoured method.
ABN initially agreed a loss-making sale of assets to Deutsche Bank but found the deal blocked by Holland’s central bank after the Dutch operations of ABN and Fortis were nationalised last year.
But ABN has been looking for a way to revive the sale, to ease fears that the European Commission (EC) will force it to do so at a later date.
“We have now set a time path that by mid-August there should be more clarity,” a spokeswoman for the Dutch finance ministry said yesterday, adding that a deal is likely to be concluded by the middle of September.
But the spokeswoman declined to say if the current interested party was Deutsche Bank renewing its interest, or a different bank altogether.
Meanwhile, ABN Amro is understood to be in talks to sublease its 140,000 square metres of office space at the 7 World Trade Center building in New York.
The bank signed a deal in 2006 to occupy three and a half floors of the building but never moved in, according to reports from the US.
Music licencing group Broadcast Music is understood to be moving in, along with Italy’s largest insurer Assicurazioni Generali.