BNP Paribas Fortis, Brussels, Belgium

Sometimes, the only way to learn how to do something right is to first make many mistakes. This article examines the takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro by a consortium that included the Royal Bank of Scotland, Spain's Banco Santander, and Belgium's Fortis (now France's PNB Paribas Fortis), a failed takeover that created much contention among the consortium members. In doing so, it describes the major problems involved in completing the takeover; it describes Fortis' approach to the merger, an approach that created unnecessary obstacles instead of enabling the transition team to complete the merger smoothly. It identifies how Amro hindered the takeover and the result of the failed merger--Amro was turned over to the Dutch government and Fortis went bankrupt. It then explains the critical lessons about manager mergers that Fortis's project manager for the merger, Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, learned from his experience of a failed merger and surviving his organization's merger into one of its competitors.
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