Ryanair’s says it has been told its bid to take over smaller Irish rival Aer Lingus is to be blocked by Europe’s anti-monopoly watchdog.
This was Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary’s third – and he said final – attempt to buy Ireland’s former flag carrier.
The low-cost airline denounced it as “not based on competition law” but a “political” decision “to meet the narrow, vested interests of the Irish government” – which owns a quarter of Aer Lingus’ shares.
The European Commission said no final decision has yet been taken.
Following a meeting with Commission representatives, Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said: “It appears clear from this morning’s meeting that no matter what remedies Ryanair offered we were not going to get a fair hearing and were going to be prohibited regardless of competition rules.”
Aer Lingus said it had not been informed of any decision, but said it had always expected a rejection.
“It was and remains Aer Lingus’s position that the offer should never have been made,” it said in a statement.