20 APRIL 2015
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Whist the future ownership of Aer Lingus is still in debate, and noises from Dublin indicate that the IAG takeover will gain Government approval, the UK Competition Commission, now called the CMA (Competitions and Market Authority) ruled on Friday (17 April) that Ryanair must sell it 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus.
In what some suggest is a perverse statement the CMA has also said its decision was a provisional one, and it would consider further responses before making its final decision. Ryanair says it will appeal.
"Our provisional view is that the circumstances around IAG’s proposed bid are consistent with the findings in our report," said Simon Polito, who chairs the CMA panel on the Ryanair stake.
"As the decisions in our report made clear, without any action to reduce its shareholding, Ryanair would remain a significant hurdle to any merger because it has an incentive as a competitor of Aer Lingus and, by its shareholding, the ability to hinder Aer Lingus from implementing its own commercial strategy."
Although recommended by the airline Board, the Irish government, which owns 25% of Aer Lingus, has dismissed the current offer, saying it does not include appropriate commitments to maintain flights between London and Ireland, although it expects further concessions.
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