Aer Lingus challenges Ryanair takeover bid date

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Aer Lingus has launched a legal challenge to a ruling that could allow Ryanair to make a fresh takeover bid for the carrier next month.

Aer Lingus has brought a case before the Irish Commercial Court challenging the Irish Takeover Panel's earlier decision that would allow Ryanair to make another takeover bid for it from 29 August onwards, a year after its third bid was put forward.

The Irish carrier argues that the moratorium on any fresh takeover bid should be dated from 27 February 2014, 12 months after the last bid was rejected by the European Commission's competition watchdog.

In a separate case, Aer Lingus has made a new submission to the UK's Competition Commission as part of its investigation into Ryanair's stake in the Irish national carrier arguing it should be prevented from selling its stake to potential "allies."

Ryanair faces having to reduce its near 30% holding in Aer Lingus after the Commission made a provisional ruling on 30 May that the stake could reduce competition on routes between the UK and Ireland.

In its latest submission, Aer Lingus argues Ryanair must be prevented from having a say in how its stake is to be divested in order to prevent it being sold to its "allies" or "leveraged private equity investors" and called for the immediate appointment of a divestiture trustee who would be "under direction from the CC and from Aer Lingus to the exclusion of Ryanair."

The UK Competition Commission is aiming to make its final decision on the future of Ryanair's stake in Aer Lingus next month.