BA owner tipped to launch higher offer for Aer Lingus
The Dublin-based airline rejected IAG’s revised offer of €2.40 (£1.88) per share on Friday night but the market now believes it is only a matter of agreeing a price for a deal to be accepted.
The latest offer is only marginally higher than the €2.30 initial approach and for a deal to succeed could mean IAG paying between €2.80 and €3. This would also encourage 29.8% shareholder Ryanair to sell. However, an offer closer to €2.50 to €2.60 now seems more likely.
A strong fourth-quarter trading update from Aer Lingus has enabled the Irish carrier to hold out for a better offer. Shares closed at €2.50 on Friday, above the IAG price.
Winning support from Ryanair, the biggest shareholder in Aer Lingus, is not only crucial, it would also require Ryanair to drop its challenging to a ruling by UK competition authorities to sell down its stake in the airline to 5% after its own failed bid for the airline.
IAG is keen to acquire Aer Lingus to gain access to even more of Heathrow’s take-off and landing slots.
A deal would also see Mr Walsh return to the airline where he started his career in 1979.