Aer Lingus - History - 1970s To Present - Second Ryanair Takeover Bid (2008/2009)

Second Ryanair Takeover Bid (2008/2009)

On 1 December 2008, Ryanair launched a second takeover bid of Aer Lingus, making an all-cash offer of €748 million (£619mil; US$950mil). The offer was a 28% premium on the value of Aer Lingus stock during the preceding 30 days. Ryanair said, "Aer Lingus, as a small, stand alone, regional airline has been marginalised and bypassed as most other EU flag carriers consolidate." The two airlines would operate separately and Ryanair claimed that they would double the Aer Lingus short-haul fleet from 33 to 66 and create 1,000 new jobs. The Aer Lingus Board rejected the offer and advised its shareholders to take no action. The offer was eventually rejected by a majority of the other shareholders. It was the second failed attempt by Michael O'Leary to take over the national flag carrier. Ryanair initially left the offer open to Aer Lingus until they withdrew their bid on 30 January 2009. The Irish Government slammed O'Leary's offer as "undervaluing the airline" and stated that a Ryanair takeover would have a "significant negative impact" on competition in the industry and on the Irish consumer. Ryanair has repeatedly stated that another bid is unlikely, but as of October 2010 it still had a stake in Aer Lingus, prompting an investigation by competition regulators in the UK.

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