Heathrow slots up for grabs

Ryanair and Dublin government hold key to Aer Lingus

Aer LingusThe Irish government and Ryanair hold the key to whether Irish airline Aer Lingus falls under the control of British Airways owner International Airlines Group.

Aer Lingus said it would recommend the third offer worth €2.55 a share comprising an all cash offer of €2.50 per share and a cash dividend of €0.05 per share. It values the Dublin-based airline at €1.3 billion.

But to succeed, IAG needs the support of the Irish government and Ryanair who own large holdings in the carrier. The government holds 25% and budget airline Ryanair 29.8% following a number of failed attempts to acquire its rival.

Two earlier bids, the last at €2.40 a share earlier this month and the first at €2.30, were declined.

There was speculation that IAG would be forced to bid between €2.80 and €3 to seal a deal but the Irish airline has accepted a price in a range predicted by Daily Business on 12 January.

A deal will give BA more take-off and landing slots at Heathrow which is close to capacity, preventing it from adding more flights.

Shares in Aer Lingus closed on Friday at €2.35, just ahead of the latest offer being lodged.


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