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The Perfect Prey: The fall of ABN Amro, or: what went wrong in the banking industry? Paperback – 21 May 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (21 May 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1849161089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849161084
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 23.1 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,029,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

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.

About the Author

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.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Htun-Kay on 11 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Interesting read about the workings within a European board. It helps to have worked for the company to identify the persons referred to as one having not worked for ABN AMRO could get lost in the plethora of Dutch MDs mentioned.
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By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 April 2014
Format: Paperback
I was curious to discover what caused Lloyds TSB, long regarded as a bastion of good banking practices and conservatism, to have to go cap in hand and scrounge rescue money off the British taxpayer. It was put about in the media, that it's financial problems emanated from the ill-advised, hurried, and poorly investigated purchase of The Royal Bank of Scotland, headed by the now disgraced Fred Goodwin, which was stuffed full with way more than it's fair share of highly hazardous barely risk assessed mainly property loans, and a disastrous investment in the Dutch financial group, ABN Amro.

This investment cost over 17 times its book value based on profits which were an illusion - they simply weren't there, and soon after purchase when the illusory bubble burst, RBS had to scrabble together the largest rights issue in British Corporate History, underwritten by the British government after which RBS was dumped into the lap of Lloyds.

'The Perfect Prey' was purchased in a desire to find out what problems were in ABN Amro, that were not picked up on when it was purchased, that almost immediately imploded after acquisition. This book based on over 120 conversations with the most important people involved , allows the author Jeroen Smit to reconstruct the downfall of a Dutch institution, a bank whose rotten core was so disguised by paper profits of billions every year.

What this book does not give an explanation of, is why at the time due diligence was being conducted prior to purchase, the phalanx of eye wateringly expensive Investment Bankers, Accountants, Lawyers and other 'on the gravy train' advisors, did not spot the fraud that abounded in the accounts on a massive scale.
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By Rj Groot on 24 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The ultimate book on corporate mismanagement and disaster. Reads like a Ludlum (or even better than that). Comes highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
The Perfect Prey is a compelling read. It follows ABN AMRO at a board level during turbulent times of mergers, acquisitions and takeover bids which eventually led to the end of the bank as we know it. Smit chose to write from the perspective of Rijkman Groenink, the Board Director, and he uses a storyteller approach rather than a factual account of events. The feeling I got while reading this book is one of continued surprise. Surprise at the role that egos play at top level, surprise at the clumsiness with which scenarios are approached, surprise at the unprofessional arguments and fights at top level and surprise at the distance the supervisory board took along the way. Fascinating are the fights between retail bankers and investment bankers and their radical different views of where to take the bank. However it's difficult to say if Smit comes close to the truth or just scratches the surface. An interesting book but I slightly doubt it's historical relevance.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very detailed account of all the strategic errors made by a former banking Goliath. A compelling read on what not to do in the banking sector.
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