In 2007 the Royal Bank of Scotland announced the biggest deal in banking history: a record 71 billion euros for the takeover of ABN Amro. For almost two centuries the bank had been at the heart of the Dutch nation's economy, but in one fell swoop it ceased to exist. The victors triumphantly dismantled the institution and sold off its various businesses. But the profits were an illusion - they simply weren't there. One year later RBS was forced to request the largest government bail-out in British history, and in the aftermath of this catastrophic failure the entire financial system teetered on the brink of collapse. The ill-fated takeover has come to symbolise the worst excesses that preceded the credit crunch. Jeroen Smit, one of Europe's top financial investigative journalists, has built on unprecedented access to more than 120 individuals connected to the deal to reconstruct just how things went so very badly wrong. He reveals the true story behind the financial collapse: how, in little more than a decade, one of the world's largest and oldest banks went from powerful predator to perfect prey.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Jeroen Smit (1963) is a renowned Dutch investigative financial journalist: he was editor for Het Financieele Dagblad, head of economy for Algemeen Dagblad, and until 2002 editor-in-chief and publisher of the business weekly FEM Business. Nowadays he works as a freelancer, He is, among other things, the host of BNR Nieuwsradio and a commentator and columnist.