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UK Regulator Says Ryanair Withdraws Appeal Over Aer Lingus Stake

Thu, 1st Oct 2015 15:36

LONDON (Alliance News) - The Competition and Markets Authority Thursday said Ryanair Holdings PLC has withdrawn its final appeal over the requirement to reduce its shareholding in Aer Lingus Group PLC.

Last month, the Irish budget carrier sold its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus to International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, which owns British Airways and Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling, following the European Commission's decision to clear IAG's takeover bid for Aer Lingus and the granting of necessary approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Ryanair claimed in July that there had been a material change of circumstances since the CMA's original decision requiring the airline to reduce its shareholding in Aer Lingus to 5%. Ryanair was typically forthright in its arguments to the regulator, calling the CMA's decision "ridiculous" and "manifestly wrong" and saying it "flies in the face" of the current IAG takeover offer for Aer Lingus.

IAG made a EUR1.4 billion offer for Aer Lingus, and the deal was dependent on Ryanair accepting the deal.

Ryanair sought permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal the tribunal's decision, but has now withdrawn that application. The appeal was formally dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

"Our decision was that it was bad for competition - and ultimately for passengers - for Ryanair to retain an influence over one of its major competitors through its shareholding. With Ryanair having sold its shareholding and withdrawn this appeal, we are pleased that the matter is now at an end," said Simon Polito, chairman of the Ryanair and Aer Lingus inquiry group appoint by the CMA.

Ryanair shares were down 1.2% to 12.94 pence per share on Thursday, whilst IAG shares were down 1.1% to 581.50 pence.

By Joshua Warner;; @JoshAlliance

Copyright 2015 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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