Anytime there are multiple suitors for an acquisition, it's bound to get interesting. ABN Amro (NYSE:ABN) and Barclays (NYSE:BCS) tried to structure a merger agreement that would dissuade other suitors, but the troika of RBS, Fortis, and Banco Santander Central Hispano (NYSE:STD) put in their bid anyway.

A key to the counteroffer from the three large European banks was that the planned sale of ABN's U.S. banking business LaSalle -- to Income Investor selection Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) -- had to be stopped. From the start, it appeared this sale was in place to stop a united offer from RBS, Fortis, and Banco Santander, because RBS had its sights set on LaSalle. When the group made their rival bid and ABN showed no signs of stopping, Dutch shareholder group VEB petitioned the courts to stop the LaSalle sale. Today, a ruling from the Dutch court has granted VEB's request and stopped the sale from going forward without input from shareholders.

The rival bid has already made the marriage between ABN Amro and Barclays difficult to consummate as originally structured. This new twist from the courts, which appears to force ABN Amro to let shareholders vote on the sale, puts added pressure on the merger agreement and also opens up the possibility that a payment will need to be made to Bank of America for the deal falling through. Whatever happens next, it seems that this dance is just getting started.

Nathan Parmelee had no financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.