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"Even though many said it couldn't be done, we wanted RBS, Fortis and Santander to realize their vision, and we had the strength, expertise and courage to help them see it through." --Andrea Orcel, Head of Global Origination and Relationship, Manager for Fortis and Santander

ABN AMRO When three leading European banks saw an extraordinary opportunity to develop their businesses, Merrill Lynch had the courage, innovation and expertise to help them realize their ambitions.

With Merrill Lynch serving as sole advisor, Brussels-based Fortis, Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Spain's Banco Santander successfully completed the unprecedented $100 billion takeover of Dutch banking group ABN AMRO. This revolutionary transaction redefined banking in Europe and the art of mergers and acquisitions worldwide.

During an intense seven months, Merrill Lynch and our clients overcame the defensive tactics of ABN AMRO, the aggressive maneuverings of a competing bidder and the best efforts of their numerous advisors. When the uniquely complex deal was complete, Merrill Lynch had helped accomplish what others called impossible, and reshaped the industry's perception of an investment bank's role.

Garnering a multitude of industry awards, this was the largest-ever financial institution transaction, the largest consortium offer and set a record for the amount of cash used in an M&A deal.

Merrill Lynch's financial commitment and execution were unparalleled. We provided $75 billion in underwriting commitments and, as sole bookrunner, oversaw exceptional capital-raising transactions, including the $19.7 billion Fortis Rights Issue and $8.2 billion hybrid capital issue for RBS.

The unsolicited acquisition of ABN AMRO allowed each of our clients to realize important strategic goals. Fortis built the leading financial services franchise in Belgium and the Netherlands and a premier global private-client and wealth-management franchise. RBS further enhanced its position in global corporate banking and acquired a leading presence in Asia and in international payments. Santander catapulted its Brazilian business to a leadership position and stands to realize a sizeable gain on the sale of the Italian bank, Antonveneta.

This transaction demonstrated that when clients require one trusted advisor to help them fight to achieve their goals — however difficult — that advisor should be Merrill Lynch.


At $100 billion, the largest financial institution transaction ever and one of the most complex M&A transactions ever


Amid a turbulent market, set a record, at $75 billion, as the largest financing ever committed and raised by Merrill Lynch

Largest Amount of Cash Ever in an M&A Transaction Globally

Record Equity Offering and Record Hybrid Capital Raising


Equity and equity-linked portion for Fortis totaled $27.0 billion, including the largest Rights Issue ever

Small photo (left to right): Merrill Lynch Investment Banking Team, London, England — Jim O'Neil, Matthew Greenburgh, Andrea Orcel, Richard Slimmon, Henrietta Baldock, Rupert Hume-Kendall; Large photo: RBS Headquarters, Edinburgh, Scotland.