Ryanair could be deal-breaker in Aer Lingus deal

The takeover of Aer Lingus by British Airways owner International Airline Group could be shaken up by the next move from Ryanair that has a near 30 per cent stake in Irish flag-carrier.

Shares in Aer Lingus have risen 3 per cent in the wake of the Irish government’s agreement to sell its 25 per cent stake to IAG.

But the low-cost airline said it had yet to receive an offer despite the announcement yesterday that terms had been agreed by the government and the Aer Lingus board.

Ryanair, a 29.8 per cent shareholder, could choose to play hard ball and force IAG to return with a higher bid for all shareholders according to one broker.

The current offer stands at €1.36bn (£961m) and the offer is conditional on acceptances by at least 90 per cent of shareholders. Ryanair has consistently said in the past that it would consider any offer, on its merits.

Ryanair said: “Our position has not changed. The board of Ryanair has yet to receive any offer, and will consider any offer on its merits, if and when an offer is made.”

Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, said he hoped Ryanair would be satisfied with the offer: “We're hopeful that Ryanair will see this as an attractive offer for their stake in Aer Lingus and we will wait to see what Ryanair and the Ryanair board says in response to this.”

Ryanair has 28 days to respond to the offer.

Last year, Aer Lingus dismissed two takeover offers from IAG, saying they undervalued the business, and Ryanair itself also had three attempts of taking over Aer Lingus in the past.

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