Ryanair sets upper limit on Aer Lingus bid price

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Irish budget carrier Ryanair has put an upper limit of less than €2 per share on its offer for Aer Lingus, insisting that it will not raise its bid above this level.

While Aer Lingus shares are trading at about €1.60 - some 14% above Ryanair's €1.40-per-share offer - the stock was below €1 about 10 days before the budget carrier's bid.

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary says he believes the shares will drop back to this level if the takeover is unsuccessful, and has declared that Ryanair "will not pay stupid prices" for Aer Lingus stock.

"While no decision has been made in relation to any change in the terms of our merger offer, we have no intention of increasing our offer to a price of €2 or above," he says. "We are not stupid people."

Aer Lingus shareholders have responded coldly to Ryanair's bid, the offer period for which has been extended to 13 February. Ryanair is seeking a meeting with the Irish transport ministry's advisers to stress that a decision on the offer must be made within three weeks.