Back in June I wrote a blog on Ryanair’s latest attempt to take over Aer Lingus. The deal became “official” later in June, and despite Aer Lingus advising its shareholders at the end of July to reject the offer of €1.30 per share, Ryanair has nevertheless been invited to explain to EU regulators what steps it would undertake to allay competition fears which have contributed to preventing this deal moving forward in the past. This is expected to happen within the next couple of weeks, with a decision to be made by the regulators shortly afterwards.
However the deal could become even more complicated now that Etihad - the national airline of the UAE which already owns 3% in Aer Lingus as a result of a deal that took place in May of this year - has also been linked with the Irish carrier as an interested party. James Hogan, Etihad’s CEO, is reported to have told Bloomberg that he would be “very happy” to talk to Ryanair about purchasing part of the 30% stake it currently owns in Aer Lingus.
So is the offer for Aer Lingus by Ryanair simply a way of smoking out a potential purchaser in Aer Lingus for their own stake, or is it a genuine attempt by Michael O’Leary to ultimately become Ireland’s national flag carrier?
I think we are in for an extended period of turbulence – we’d better fasten our seat belts and prepare for a bumpy landing…