UK - Barclays Bank today withdrew its offer to buy Dutch bank ABN Amro, clearing the way for the rival bid of banking consortium Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis (RSF).

Barclays competed against RSF's €71.8bn offer in a six-month battle but the UK banking major today said in a statement it had withdrawn its offer with immediate effect, as "not all the conditions relating to the offer were fulfilled".

"In particular, the condition that at least 80% of ABN Amro's issued ordinary share capital as at the closing date were tendered, has not been fulfilled," said Barclays.

A merger between with ABN Amro would have made Barclays the sixth-largest bank in the world.

"We have noted Barclays's announcement and we fully understand their position," Neil Moorhouse, an Amsterdam-based spokesman for ABN Amro, told IPE.

Royal Bank of Scotland declined to comment on the developments, saying: "We don't expect the counting on the shareholder votes to be completed till early next week and will make an announcement at that point."