Ryanair is reportedly making a third attempt to acquire Aer Lingus. CEO Michael O’Leary stated the former Irish flag carrier needs a strong partner to secure its future and a Ryanair partnership would help double the size of Aer Lingus’ short-haul fleet within a few years (This is Money/Poten & Partners, 01-May-2011). Mr O’Leary is believed to have approached the Irish government to acquire its 25% stake in Aer Lingus. The LCC holds a 29% stake in Aer Lingus and is the largest single shareholder. Mr O'Leary reportedly decided to make the approach after a Mar-2011 government report outlined plans to sell certain assets to reduce debt, one of which was its stake in Aer Lingus, now worth about EUR110 million. The European Commission has blocked two attempts by Ryanair to acquire Aer Lingus on competition grounds - one in 2006 and the other in 2008. The Commission is believed to still hold the view that merging the airlines would create a monopoly on Dublin services.
2-May-2011 12:27 PM