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How Botín got what he wanted out of ABN

In 2004 Santander had looked at ABN Amro as an entire business but decided it was not interested in a deal. Botín told his board at the time that the only parts of ABN that Santander might be interested in were its Brazil and Italy operations.

And for his next trick... Botín weaves his magic at Santander

Botín: "The deal could not have happened without Fred’s [Goodwin] strong leadership"

Botín: "The deal could not have happened without Fred’s [Goodwin] strong leadership"

Then, in January 2007, Fred Goodwin, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, approached Santander and told Botín that he was looking to make a bid for ABN.

Goodwin asked Botín if he would be interested. Botín stuck to his guns: yes, he said – but only in Brazil and Italy. In that discussion, Botín – who had already consulted key in-house dealmaker Juan Rodríguez Inciarte about the offer – told Goodwin the price he would be prepared to pay for the banking operations of ABN in those two countries. He said it would be in the region of €17 billion.

In subsequent discussions, Goodwin, Botín and their advisers at Merrill Lynch discussed what to do with the Benelux operations of ABN. They both agreed that the businesses would be a difficult fit for their respective banks.

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