ABN AMRO had come to a crossroads in the beginning of 2005. The bank had still not come close to its own target of having a return on equity that would put it among the top 5 of its peer group, a target that the CEO, Rijkman Groenink had set upon his appointment in 2000. From 2000 until 2005, ABN AMRO's stock price stagnated. Financial results in 2006 added to concerns about the bank's future. Operating expenses increased at a greater rate than operating revenue, and the efficiency ratio deteriorated further to 69.9%. Non-performing loans increased considerably year on year by 192%. Net profits were only boosted by sustained asset sales. There had been some calls, over the prior couple of years, for ABN AMRO to break up, to merge, or to be acquired. On February 21, 2007, the call came from the The Children's Investment Fund Management hedge fund which asked the Chairman of the Supervisory Board to actively investigate a merger, acquisition or breakup of ABN AMRO, stating that the current stock price didn't reflect the true value of the underlying assets. TCI asked the chairman to put their request on the agenda of the annual shareholders' meeting of April 2007. Events accelerated when on March 20 the British bank Barclays and ABN AMRO both confirmed they were in exclusive talks about a possible merger. A consortium of banks, including RBS, Belgium's Fortis, and Spain's Banco Santander also proposed an acquisition and finally won the deal. The RBS-ABN Amro deal is also unusual in that it led to the fall of not just one buyer but two: the Belgian-Dutch bank Fortis was nationalised by the Dutch government last year to avert a liquidity crisis. On 22 April 2008 RBS announced the largest rights issue in British corporate history, which aimed to raise £12billion in new capital to offset a writedown of £5.9billion resulting from the bad investments and to shore up its reserves following the purchase of ABN AMRO. On 13 October 2008, British Prime Minister...
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