EU Court dismisses Ryanair appeal against hostile takeover bid
On Tuesday last, July 6, the European Union General Court in Luxembourg dismissed Ryanair’s appeal to the court against the prohibition of the carrier’s hostile takeover bid for Aer Lingus. The ruling effectively confirms the findings of the EU Commission that such a takeover would remove competition between the two carriers, contrary to the interests of consumers.
In a separate ruling, the Court confirmed the 2007 decision by the EU Commission that it could not force Ryanair to sell its stake in AerLingus.
Colm Barrington, Aer Lingus Chairman said, "Today's rejection by the European Court of Ryanair's appeal confirms that a takeover of Aer Lingus by Ryanair would harm consumers and lead to higher prices on Irish routes. It is regrettable that the Court has not taken this opportunity to take the further step necessary to address the anti-competitive effects of Ryanair's minority shareholding in Aer Lingus which is contrary to the interests of the majority of our shareholders."
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary commented “We welcome today’s ruling of the EU General Court which confirms that Ryanair can not be forced to dispose of its 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus. This is the third time since 2007 that Aer Lingus has lost appeals on this issue.
We note the Court’s decision on our appeal against the EU Commission’s ruling on our 2006 offer for Aer Lingus. This will not prevent Ryanair making a future offer for Aer Lingus, but obviously any such offer will have to take account of the court’s detailed ruling. Ryanair has no immediate plans to make a third offer for Aer Lingus, which in any event would be unlikely to succeed unless the Irish Govt decides to sell its 25% stake.