Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary was fighting a rearguard battle with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over the weekend as he sought to maintain his firm’s stake in Aer Lingus.
The threat from O’Leary to seek damages from the regulator, made in the Telegraph, is the latest salvo in the long-running dispute.
O’Leary has maintained the decision by the CMA to force Ryanair to cuts its 29.8 per cent stake in Aer Lingus to just five per cent has damaged shareholder value due to the spectre of an impending divestiture.
The news of O’Leary preparing to take legal action to the next level came as the Irish government moved a step closer to selling its 25 per cent holding in Aer Lingus to International Airlines Group (IAG). Despite pressure from opposition parties, trade unions and some members of its own party, the panel appointed by the Irish government to examine IAG’s bid is set to recommend the sale goes ahead. IAG’s current £1bn offer for Aer Lingus, valuing the airline at €2.55 per share, is the third offer since December but is conditional on both parties selling up.