Irish airline Ryanair Holdings Plc (LON:RYA) has proposed a radical and unprecedented remedies package to win EU support for its planned buy of rival Aer Lingus Group Plc (LON:AERL), the suitor’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said today.
There are two upfront buyers, each basing aircraft in Ireland, for a substantial part of Aer Lingus’ existing route network and short-haul business, O’Leary noted, without specifying the proposed concessions. According to him, the package of remedies concerns every route, on which competition could be threatened. He added that his company expects to complete the deal in early March.
Last week the European Commission (EC) said it had extended its probe into the deal until 6 March from 27 February after the suitor offered more remedies. According to sources cited by Reuters previously, Ryanair proposed to shed 43 routes to UK’s Flybe Group Plc (LON:FLYB) and three Aer Lingus’ Heathrow routes to British Airways plc.
So far, EU regulators had twice banned Ryanair’s attempts to buy the 70% stake it does not already have in Aer Lingus. The latest offer of EUR1.30 (USD1.75) per share values the target at EUR694m.