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Very creative stuff this morning from Barclays, which has enlisted China Development Bank and Temasek of Singapore to boost its bid for ABN Amro. This will provide Barclays with up to an extra €13.4bn of cash which, combined with this morning’s modest share price rise, helps to narrow the gap with the RBS consortium’s rival offer. So far, though, not by enough. Barclays’ offer has risen from €64bn in shares to €67.5bn in shares and cash. But the RBS team is still offering €71bn, almost all of it in cash. If Barclays were to fail in its quest for ABN but end up with close ties to CDB and Temasek (which – a tantalising thought – happens to be the largest investor in Standard Chartered, long regarded as a dream partner for Barclays) it will have been an extremely worthwhile venture. We’ll chew over all this in much greater detail for tomorrow’s paper.
Also, Resolution and Friends Provident have confirmed Andrea Felsted’s story from Friday that they are in merger talks. Will Axa, Standard Life or JC Flowers come and break up this all-paper deal, with its minuscule premium? Catch up with the market chat on FT Alphaville.
Finally, thank you to whoever from C&C sent me a case of Magners cider on Friday after I wrote in the blog that I hadn’t touched the stuff but my colleagues on the desk thought it was revolting. Somebody clearly likes it – I put a message out offering the bottles to the newsroom and they went quite fast. I kept one for myself and tried it on Saturday night. I’m afraid, though, the best I can say is that it was wet and, if you keep it in the fridge and add ice, cold.