June 11, 2023

DealBook: Ryanair Offers $883 Million for Aer Lingus

LONDON — The European low cost airline Ryanair offered 694 million euros ($883 million) to buy the Irish carrier Aer Lingus, the latest in a number of deals in the fast-consolidating airline industry.

Ryanair, which already owns a 29.8 percent stake in Aer Lingus, said on Tuesday that it had bid 1.30 euros for each share in the carrier. The offer represents a 38 percent premium on Aer Lingus’ closing share price on Tuesday.

The announcement comes a day after Britain’s antitrust regulator said it would investigate Ryanair’s minority stake in Aer Lingus. Concerns has been raised that the low cost carrier’s share ownership could stifle competition.

Faced with continued high oil prices and a reduction in consumer spending, Western airlines have been striking deals in a bid to remain profitable.

International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and the Spanish carrier Iberia, agreed last year to buy British Midland International from Lufthansa of Germany. US Airways also has been considering a merger with AMR Corp., the bankrupt parent of American Airlines.

Ryanair, which made an unsuccessful takeover approach for Aer Lingus in 2006, said its new bid would help the carriers compete with larger rivals.

“This offer represents a significant opportunity to combine Aer Lingus with Ryanair to form one strong Irish airline group capable of competing with Europe’s other major airline groups,” Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said in a statement.

A potential deal for Aer Lingus may face tough opposition from antitrust authorities, which blocked Ryanair’s previous bid for the Irish carrier.

The Irish government retains a 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus, but plans to sell its shares as part of the bailout it received from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Etihad Airways also holds around a 3 percent stake in the Irish carrier.

Ryanair said it would be willing to work with an investor, such as Etihad Airways, that may acquire the government’s stake in Aer Lingus. The low cost carrier also said it would be open to selling its stake in Aer Lingus to the investor if both sides could agree on a price.

A representative for Aer Lingus was not immediately available for comment.

Davy Corporate Finance and Morgan Stanley are advising Ryanair.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/ryanair-offers-883-million-for-aer-lingus/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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