Agencies lined up for giant banks merger

Brunswick and Financial Dynamics are working on either side of a planned £40bn merger that could see Barclays return to the global financial front line.

Dutch bank ABN Amro drafted in FD last week amid pressure from British hedge funds to consider a merger or a break-up.

Barclays, advised by Brunswick, stepped in over the weekend with a friendly ‘white knight' approach for the troubled ABN Amro.

FD's job has now therefore switched to supporting the merger with Barclays, Britain's third biggest bank.

Both banks are keeping their cards close to their chest, only confirming they had entered ‘preliminary discussions'. Neither agency was mentioned in the banks' press releases.

Sources from Brunswick and FD claimed the agencies had nothing to do with the proposed deal being leaked to last week's Sunday Times.

Insiders who are close to the deal suggested the role of the agencies could become increasingly complicated with the arrival of counter-bids.

Both will have to contend with disgruntled ABN Amro investors, such as The Children's Investment Fund, which are likely to want to search for the best offer.

FD consumer industries MD Andrew Dowler and senior V-P Andrew Walton are advising the ABN Amro board. Brunswick partners Andrew Garfield and Richard Jacques oversee the Barclays account.

ALSO... Financial Dynamics has formally changed its name to FD, to reflect its expansion into comms disciplines outside of the City.

CEO Charles Watson described the change as ‘subtle, but appropriate'.

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