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Barclays Bank Makes Inquiry on Takeover of ABN Amro




By JULIA WERDIGIER

Published: March 19, 2007

 

LONDON, March 19 — Barclays, one of Britain’s largest banks, has made an informal takeover approach for ABN Amro Holding, the largest bank in the Netherlands, which is under pressure from hedge funds to consider a merger or asset sales to bolster its lagging share price.

 

A takeover of ABN by Barclays would be the largest crossborder merger ever in the European banking industry, and would create a combined company with market value of more than £80 billion, or $155 billion, with businesses in the United States and Africa, as well as Europe.

 

Such a merger would help Barclays compete with larger rivals like HSBC Holding and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, but two people who confirmed that the inquiry had been made said that the contact between the two European banks was at a preliminary stage and that there was no certainty that Barclays would make a formal offer. The people declined to be identified, citing confidentiality agreements.

 

Among other banks that analysts have said might be interested in all or parts of ABN are the Royal Bank of Scotland, ING Group of the Netherlands and Banco Santander, Spain’s largest bank. Barclays stated an interest in playing a role in any takeover battle involving ABN, one of the people said.

 

ABN Amro, based in Amsterdam, came under pressure from shareholders earlier this year for failing to revive its share price, which has lagged behind those of other banks for years.

 

Shares in ABN, which has its roots in a trading company set up by King Willem I in 1824, have barely budged since Rijkman W. J. Groenink took over as chief executive in May 2000.

 

Analysts have said that the bank’s strategy is lacking focus and that at least three unsuccessful efforts to take over European rivals over the last eight years have weighed heavily on investors’ trust in Mr. Groenink.

 

The Children’s Investment Fund and Tosca, two hedge funds that hold shares in ABN, called on Mr. Groenink last month to explore the options to sell, merge or spin off some of the bank’s assets, which they claimed were not meeting their full potential. Both hold stakes of about 1 percent in ABN.

 

The Children’s Investment Fund is known for exerting pressure on management at companies it has invested in. In 2005, the fund successfully pushed for the ouster of two top executives at Deutsche Börse, the company that runs the Frankfurt stock exchange.

 

 

Neil Moorhouse, a spokesman at ABN, declined to comment on an approach, as did a spokesman at Barclays.



 

ABN, which owns LaSalle Bank in Chicago, has been considered a takeover target by rivals for years.

 

ABN shares gained in September on speculation that Bank of America might be interested in acquiring it. About two years ago, it also sounded out the possibility of a combination with Barclays, based in London, but nothing came of it.

 

Previously, potential bidders balked at hurdles, including ABN’s struggling wholesale division and disagreements on where a combined bank would be based, bankers said earlier.

 

Mr. Groenink made it clear in the past that he was unwilling to give up Amsterdam as headquarters of any merged lender.

 

Yet, in an interview with Bloomberg News in July, he said that he would not have a serious argument to reject a takeover approach with a “very good story” and an offer worth 40 percent above the share price.

 

Any potential bidder for ABN may be attracted by the business in the United States, which is generating the largest slice of profit, and operations in fast-growing emerging markets like Brazil. ABN has a 56 percent stake in the South African bank Absa and also owns banks in Spain, Portugal and the Middle East.

 

ABN bought Banca Antonveneta, an Italian bank, last year but has had trouble keeping a cap on expenses from the acquisition.

 

For Barclays, an acquisition of a bank the size of ABN Amro would place it among the leaders in the global banking industry. It would help John Varley, chief executive, to meet his goal of more than doubling the share of earnings outside the bank’s British home market, where lenders have been hit by increasing loan losses.



 

Barclays invested heavily over the last years in its investment banking unit, hiring bankers and adding products. The investments paid off last year when earnings from the securities business helped the bank to more than offset losses from bad loans.

 

Mr. Varley has repeatedly said that he wanted to expand Barclays organically in markets like China but has not ruled out acquisitions. He hired Frits Seegers from Citigroup last year to help lead an expansion of the bank’s retail and commercial banking units.

 

 

7. Учебно-методическое обеспечение самостоятельной работы студентов. Оценоч­ные средства для текущего контроля успеваемости, промежуточной аттестации по ито­гам освоения дисциплины.

 

Объектами контроля как обязательного фрагмента процесса обучения ИЯ являются приобретаемые студентами знания (филологические и страноведческие), уровень сформированности речевых навыков и умений.

Контроль осуществляется поурочно (текущий контроль), по завершении изучения отдельной темы (периодический контроль) и по завершении этапа/курса обучения ИЯ (итоговый контроль). Во всех формах контроля в качестве одного из вариантов может выступать тестирование.

Текущий контроль реализуется в форме фронтального опроса/беседы, письменной контрольной работы и др.; промежуточный – в форме устного опроса или письменной контрольной работы по завершении изучения конкретной темы.

 

Образец контрольной работы по страдательному залогу в английском языке:

I. Замените следующие предложения в действительном залоге на страдательные конструкции.

 

1. Our teacher has recommended this book to us.

2. The director has signed the documents.

3. Professor Brown had described the work of the expedition.

4. They had prepared everything by six o'clock.

5. The professor is carrying out some very interesting experiments.

6. Very experienced engineers are doing this work.

7. When we entered the office, the typist was typing the contract.

8. When we arrived, the legal adviser was checking the contract.

9. By that time everybody had forgotten that story.

10. The students haven't translated the article yet.

11. They are building a bridge over the river.

12. Mother has put the book on the shelf.

 

II. Выберите правильную форму (действительного или страдательного залога).

 

1. The book is being discussed/is discussing now.

2. The children are being played/are playing football in the yard.

3. This fact was mentioned/mentioned by many people.

4. Our car is usually repaired/repairs in Mike Anderson's garage.

5. The children have been put to bed/will put to bed by their nurse.

6. All my questions were answered/will answer after classes.

7. The flowers will be watered/are watering in the evening.

8. My parents aren't approved of/don't approve of heavily made up girls.

9. The suitcases had been packed/had packed by 6 o'clock as the train started/was started at 7 р.m.

10. The house didn't live in/was not lived in in autumn and winter.

11. The garden looks after very well/is well looked after.

12. Doctors send for/are sent for when people feel unwell.

 

III. Выберите правильный вариант перевода глагола-сказуемого русского предложения.

 

1. Статья была переведена вчера.

a) is translated; b) was translated; с) has been translated.

 

2. Когда зазвенел звонок, статья переводилась студентами

a) was translated; b) was being translated; c) were being translated.

 

3. Статью уже перевели, когда зазвенел звонок.

a) had been translated; b) has been translated; c) had translated.

 

4. Статью переведут завтра.

a) will be translated; b) is being translated; c) will have been translated.

 

5. Новая станция метро была построена в этом году

a) is built; b) was built; с) has been built; d) is being built.

 

6. Новая станция метро строится недалеко от моего дома

a) is being built; b) is built; c) will be built.

 

7. Новая станция метро будет построена к Новому году

a) will be built; b) will have been built; c) has been built.

 

8. Он чувствовал, что за ним следят.

a) was followed; b) was being followed; c) is being followed.

 

9. Он часто ссылается на Ваши слова.

a) are referred to; b) refers to; c) are being referred to.

 

10. Какой материал они использовали для строительства?

a) was being used; b) has used; c) was used.

 

IV. Переведите предложения на русский язык

1. The flowers have been kept without water for a week.

2. The walls are being covered with green paint.

3. Their children are not taken good care of at home.

4. This proposal will be thought over next week.

5. She has been told everything about this matter.

6. We were told the train would come nearly at two.

7. He was sent for very late.

8. This room has been done up for our return.

9. A new danger was being carried towards them by the river.

10. He will never be allowed into their house again.

11. June was greatly encouraged by his interest.

12. The autumn leaves were being whirled towards the sky.

13. The business has been taken over by a new company.

14. Two days later the operation was performed.

 

Образец промежуточного теста:

1. Look at each sentence below. Decide whether an article is needed to complete the sentence. Circle the article that completes the sentence correctly. If no article is needed, circle 'no article'.

 

1.The wife of the President of the USA is known as … First Lady.

a ) a b) the c) no article

2. I have never had … job working in a bar.

a) a b) the c) no article

3. … largest ocean in the world is the Pacific Ocean.

a) a b) the c) no article

4. …. Hong Kong used to be part of the British Empire.

a) a b) the c) no article

5. Slovakia is part of …. European Community.

a) a b) the c) no article

6. …. Amazon rain forest covers several countries in South America.

a) a b ) the c) no article

7. ….. friend of mine, who lives in Crete, has never left the island.

a) a b) the c) no article

8. A recent report predicted that all …. sea water will be polluted by 2040.

a) a b) the c) no article

9. On ….. news today, there were reports of two plane crashes.

a) a b) the c) no article

10) The weather tomorrow will be …. same as today.

a) a b) the c) no article

 

2. Look at the words in the list below and decide which word completes each sentence. Drag or type the word into the gap in the sentence.

 

bitter close complete deep great

 

heavy high total utter big

 

1. After Pete's mother died, he went into a …. depression.

2. He is a …. drinker and often gets through a bottle of wine in an evening.

3. There is a …. death rate in Scotland from heart disease.

4. It came as a … surprise when he told me I had lost my job.

5. We used to have a very…. friendship but things have changed recently.

6. Many people predict that inflation will be a…. issue in the next election campaign.

7. She stared at him in…. amazement.

8. His handling of the problem showed…. sensitivity.

9. Her exam results were a…. disappointment to her.

10. The course was rubbish, a… waste of time!

 

3. Look at the sentence and the three words below it. Decide which word completes each sentence .

 

1. I spent several years in Spain, … I never learnt to speak Spanish.

a) and b) despite c) yet

2. She found the job very tough. … she stayed at the company and was finally promoted.

a) And b) Nevertheless c) Though

3. They went to the beach … the bad weather.

a) although b) and c) despite

4.He spent several years in Finland … then moved to Poland.

a) and b) despite c) however

5. He never went to university, … getting top marks at school.

a) although b) in spite of c) nevertheless

6. She has recovered from the accident now … she still feels scared when she goes anywhere in a car.

a) but b) despite c) in spite of

7. Even … Paul's brother lives in Brazil, he has never been there.

a) although b) despite c) though

8. She apologized for taking the car without my permission. .... , I was still angry.

a) Also b) Despite c) However

9. … the bad weather, they still went ahead with the game.

a) Although b) Despite c) However

10. Not only did he lose the business … he lost his house as well.

a) also b) and c) but

 

4. Each sentence below contains a phrasal verb with "look". Choose the correct phrasal verb to complete the sentence from the three options shown.

 

1. The insurance company is looking down on/ into/ up to the claim and won't pay out any money until it has been fully investigated.

2. When the boys started bullying her, the other children just stood and looked ahead/ back/ on.

3. When I look back/ down/ over on my college days, I can't believe the crazy things we did as students.

4. She looked after/ to/ over the car quickly and said she would buy it.

5. He looks ahead/ down on/ into his colleagues because he has a degree but they haven't.

6. We had a really bad time about six months ago but now things are looking ahead/ back/ up.

7. The company is doing well at present, but we must look ahead/ back/ up and develop our plans for the future.

8. When the team is not doing well, they look back/ into/ to the captain for inspiration.

9. The mother is on her own now, so it is left to the daughter to look after/ down on/ up to her.

10. Tim has always looked down on/ up/ up to his father and hopes one day to emulate his success.

 

5. Look at the prepositions listed below and decide which preposition is needed to complete each sentence. The same word may be used in more than one sentence.

 

For in of on to

 

1. They congratulated him … winning the award.

2. I was on the verge … giving up and going home when he suddenly came through the door.

3. She apologised … the mess after the party but her parents were still very angry.

4. The scientists were very critical … the researchers' initial findings.

5. They say he is fluent … five languages.

6. It seems that the opposition party is not in favour … the new anti-terrorist legislation.

7. He threatened to sue her if she didn't pay for the damage … his car.

8. They accused him … stealing the money but he denied it.

9. I don't think this software is appropriate …. children under 12 years old.

10. She has no intention … going to college. She just wants to get a job.

 

6. Read the explanation and click on the word that is the odd one out.

1. One of these words is NOT connected with cricket:

a) bat b) linesman c) umpire d) wicket

2. One of these words is NOT connected with anger:

a) annoyed b) furious c) livid d) restless

3. One of these words does NOT mean 'wealthy':

a) acrimonious b) loaded c) prosperous d) rich

4. One of these words is NOT connected with clothing:

a) cuff b) hem c) jetty d) sleeve

5. One of these words is NOT connected with cooking:

a) donate b) mash c) peel d) slice

6. One of these words does NOT describe part of a car:

a) dashboard b) gutter c) mudflap d) sunroof

7. One of these objects is NOT found in a kitchen:

a) kettle b) oven c) putter d) toaster

8. One of these words does NOT describe a way of walking: stroll

a) hover b) limp c) stroll d) waddle

9. One of these words does NOT describe a sound:

a) crackle b) crunch c) frisk d) sizzle

10. One of these words does NOT describe part of a house:

a) drainpipe b) lawn c) porch d) roof

 

7. Look at the word in bold. Decide which of the three words below it sounds the same.

 

Steal

a) steel b) still c) style

Son

a) song b) sum c) sun

Piece

a) peace b) peas c) pierce

Write

a) right b) riot c) writ

Brake

a) bake b) bleak c) break

Our

a) hour b) howl c) owl

7. Fair

a) far b) fare c) fear


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