How ABN Amro Got Bought, Bailed Out and Sold Again: Timeline

When a group of three banks bought ABN Amro for 71.9 billion euros ($77 billion) in 2007, it was the biggest financial-services takeover ever. A year later, the Dutch government stepped in to rescue the troubled lender, spending almost 22 billion euros on the asset. The initial public offering on Friday raised 3.3 billion euros for the government, with shares priced at 17.75 euros each.

Here are some of the highlights of the bank’s tumultuous history -- from attempts to crack into the big league of global banking to being bailed out by the Dutch state.


Dutch King Willem I establishes the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, a trading company to revive trade and financing of the Dutch East Indies. It is one of the primary ancestors of Algemene Bank Nederland.


ABN Amro is formed by the merger of the two biggest Dutch banks, AMRO Bank and Algemene Bank Nederland NV, as they scale up their international businesses.


ABN Amro snaps up assets including Hoare Govett and Alfred Berg. Adding to U.S. unit LaSalle, acquired in 1979, it buys Talman Home Federal Savings & Loan.


ABN Amro lists stock on New York Stock Exchange.


Rijkman Groenink becomes CEO and pledges to make ABN Amro one of the top five banks by shareholder returns among a group of 20 peers, including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and ING.


ABN Amro abandons its final protective measure as the bank scraps its preferential share structure. The bank seeks to improve the role of shareholders in the bank’s governance. It also makes the lender more vulnerable for a takeover.


ABN Amro buys Italy’s Banca Antonveneta for 7.5 billion euros to build up its consumer and business clients in four markets: Italy, the Netherlands, the U.S. Midwest and Brazil.

Feb. 2007 

TCI Fund Management urges ABN Amro management to consider a break-up. Dutch Central Bank President Nout Wellink calls the demand a “bridge too far," meaning that he didn’t think such a move was necessary.

April 2007

Barclays makes a formal offer for ABN Amro. Days later, a consortium consisting of Santander, Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis makes a higher cash-and-shares offer, sparking a bidding war.


The consortium acquires ABN Amro. Fortis buys ABN Amro’s Dutch consumer-banking arm, asset-management and private-banking units. RBS gets Asian and investment-banking operations. Santander snags Brazil and Italy.

Oct. 2008

As the financial crisis spreads across the world, the Netherlands is forced to prop up its banks and insurers on concern deteriorating credit markets would leave them short of capital. The government purchases Fortis’s Dutch banking and insurance units, including its portion of ABN Amro, for 16.8 billion euros. Additional assistance pushes the rescue to about 22 billion euros, while separate bailouts for ING, SNS Reaal and Aegon and other assets drive the state’s costs even higher.

July 2010

ABN Amro Bank NV and Fortis Bank Nederland NV legally merge to operate as one bank under the name of ABN Amro Bank.

Dec. 2014

Dijsselbloem says he will decide in the first quarter whether ABN Amro is ready to be sold.

March 2015

Dijsselbloem delays the IPO decision after a salary increase for ABN Amro board members draws fire from politicians and the public alike. An internal inquiry in Dubai also shows ABN Amro staff fail to comply with company guidelines. The bank was later fined more than $1.3 million by regulators in the case.

May 2015

The Dutch government says it’s proceeding with plans to sell shares in ABN Amro as soon as this year.

Oct. 2015

The bank and the Dutch state announce plans to proceed with the IPO, with the offer coming as soon as this quarter.

Nov. 20, 2015

ABN Amro Group NV starts trading in Amsterdam under the ticker ABN NA. The shares open at 18.18 euros apiece.

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