Ryanair launches fresh takeover bid for Aer Lingus

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Budget carrier Ryanair is making a fresh takeover bid for rival Irish airline Aer Lingus, saying its planned all-cash offer values the company at €748 million ($963 million).

Ryanair says in a stock exchange announcement that it intends to make a cash offer of €1.40 per share for all of the company. It already owns 29.8% of Aer Lingus.

The low-cost carrier tried unsuccessfully in the past to acquire Aer Lingus. Its offer, which was priced much higher than the planned new offer, was rejected by Aer Lingus and later by regulatory authorities.

"The board of Ryanair proposes to merge the two airlines into one strong Irish airline group under common ownership," it says.

"Similar to previous European airline mergers such as Air France/KLM and Lufthansa/Swiss, both airlines will operate as separate companies, with distinctive brands, thereby preserving the best features of both, including Ryanair's low fare, high punctuality operations, and Aer Lingus' special brand, service culture as well as its long haul operations."

Ryanair says the offer represents a premium of around 25% over the closing price of Aer Lingus shares on 28 November.