Third Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus broader than first, says watchdog
Ryanair’s third takeover bid for Aer Lingus is even more extensive than when the European Commission first blocked the merger in 2007, according to the EU competition authority’s formal charge sheet.
The European Commission’s “statement of objections”, issued last week, argues that the merged Irish carrier would hold a more dominant position than in 2007, according to sources. It would have an effective stranglehold over more than 40 routes.
These reservations indicate that Ryanair has a steeper hill to climb in Brussels than with its first bid for Aer Lingus.
The commission served its charges after rejecting what Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary described as a “revolutionary” remedies package to secure regulatory approval.
Brussels said the proposals failed to address all the routes with competition problems.
Significantly, the commission also dismissed Ryanair’s claim that the merger would bring efficiencies that would be passed on to consumers through lower prices and better services.
– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012