Aer Lingus loses High Court challenge to Ryanair takeover bid
Aer Lingus claims to have spent €40 million defending rival’s two unsuccessful attempts
Aer Lingus told the High Court it is being hampered in its commercial activities due to restrictions imposed by takeover attempts by Ryanair. Photograph: PA
Aer Lingus, which says it has spent €40 million defending Ryanair’s two previous unsuccessful bids, challenged a May 2013 ruling by the Irish Takeover Panel (ITP) which meant Ryanair had to wait just 12 months after its unsuccessful August 2012 takeover bid before it could make another bid next month.
Aer Lingus said it is being hampered in its commercial activities due to restrictions imposed by such takeover attempts.
It asked the court to rule no such bid could be offered before February next year, which would be 12 months after the European Commission’s decision blocking the last Ryanair bid was made.
The action arose from Ryanair’s third bid in July last year to win control of Aer Lingus. That €694 million offer was blocked last February by the European Commission, which said the proposed merger would harm consumers by creating a dominant company on 46 routes where both airlines are competing.
The ITP and Ryanair opposed the Aer Lingus application for leave to bring a High Court judicial review over the matter.
Today, Mr Justice Sean Ryan ruled Aer Lingus had not established substantial grounds for judicial reivew because it had not shown that a reading of the takeover rules by the ITP was “wrong or even questionable.”
He refused leave to challenge the ITP’s ruling.