Ryanair embarks on a third bid to take over its rival Aer Lingus

Marion Dakers
BUDGET airline Ryanair has made a third bid to take over Aer Lingus, claiming its €694m (£560.6m) cash offer is the best chance for its rival to remain in Irish hands.

The offer of €1.30 per share represents a 46.7 per cent premium over Aer Lingus’s six month average.

Ryanair believes there is a better chance of securing a deal with its bitter rival now than six years ago, when it failed to clinch the firm amid competition concerns.

The carrier, which already owns 29.82 per cent of Aer Lingus, has made no secret of its wish to buy it.

And chief executive Michael O’Leary reckons yesterday’s offer presents no problem to regulators or shareholders. He pointed to the recent clearance of BA’s takeover of BMI as an example of watchdogs allowing hard-up airlines to survive through consolidation.

“This offer is, we believe, the best way for Aer Lingus to continue to be owned, controlled and managed from Ireland for the benefit of Irish citizens and visitors,” he said.

The firm added that the offer is a chance for the Irish government to get a good price for its 25 per cent holding, given recent interest from others including Etihad.