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Deals of the year 2007: Big bet pays off for Fortis

Fortis’s equity market fund-raising for its part in the consortium bid for ABN Amro was big and bold, with brave backing from Merrill Lynch.

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Name of issuer: Fortis
Size of issue: €13.4 billion
Date of issue: October 2007
Bookrunner: Merrill Lynch

Gilbert Mittler, chief financial officer at Fortis

Gilbert Mittler: told a compelling story

The stakes were high for Fortis when it turned to the equity market to raise more money than any institution had ever dared ask for before. On the line lay not just the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Fortis to pluck what it wanted from one of its greatest rivals but the future of the Netherlands’ flagship bank; the hopes of Barclays, the rival suitor for it; and the success of Fortis’s other consortium partners, whose own ambitions for parts of ABN Amro also rested on the bank’s ability to come up with its share of the cash. But while ABN Amro, Barclays and their advisors, which included almost every bank on the street, clung to the hope that October’s rocky market conditions would derail Fortis’s record fund-raising plans, in truth it was wishful thinking.

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