Thursday, May 3, 2007

The winner for LaSalle? So far, lawyers

I guess this is no longer a real estate matter, but because LaSalle Bank has been such a major player in mid-market lending (not to mention its role as trustee in the CMBS market), I am captivated by what is going on.

The Dutch courts have frozen the sale of LaSalle, citing the requirement that its shareholders approve the deal. which opens up the possibility of more bids for ABN AMRO as a whole. It is also likely that Wachtell will be let loose in the US courts to claim $220 BILLION in damages from ABN if it pulls out of the deal. I can only imagine Wachtell's fee for that baby.

As I recall, the Dutch courts also held up the sale of Urban Retail Properties Co. by Rodamco to Simon, Westfield and Rouse a few years ago, but that sale was ultimately allowed to go through. Interestingly, Ross Glickman eventually led a management-led buyback of that company, while Rodamco is about to be acquired by the French. I don't really know Ross at all, but I know most of his senior team quite well, and they are a first-rate bunch of managers and people.