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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

RBS Beats Barclays in ABN Battle

LONDON -- Investors representing 85 percent of shares in ABN Amro have accepted a 70 billion euro ($99 billion) bid for the Dutch bank from a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Financial Times reported.

The newspaper said Saturday that the level of acceptances meant the consortium, which includes Santander and Fortis, could make its offer unconditional this week.

The trio could publish the results Monday, although it has until the end of next week to declare the bid unconditional, a key step before it seals the deal.

Barclays officially withdrew its bid after receiving just 0.2 percent of ABN shares by the time its offer ended Thursday. But as it closed the door on the saga, the bank said it had stuck to its promise not to overpay -- feeding a debate over the cost of the RBS-led victory in turbulent markets.

"We have been absolutely clear in terms of the discipline we bring to this opportunity. It goes with that that we should be in a position where we could walk away," Barclays chief executive John Varley said.

"I feel a sense of disappointment, of course I do, because I would like us to have merged with ABN Amro. But it is disappointment -- not despondency and not dependency."

Barclays was originally the preferred suitor as it planned to keep the business whole, but ABN switched to a neutral stance after the gap between the two bids widened.