The Irish Government and the board of directors at Aer Lingus have said they will not sell the airline to Ryanair.
The board of Aer Lingus unanimously rejected the offer.
Commenting on the Offer, John Sharman, Chairman of Aer Lingus Group, said: “This approach is unsolicited, wholly opportunistic and significantly undervalues the Group’s businesses and attractive long term growth potential. In addition, the Offer would raise significant regulatory issues as a result of Aer Lingus Group’s strong position in its core markets.”
This comes after Ryanair launched a surprise takeover bid for the state airline pricing its rival at 1.48 billion euros (1.9 billion dollars). The move is designed to establish a stronger Irish carrier.
“This offer represents a unique opportunity to form one strong airline group for Ireland and for European consumers. We will expand, enhance and upgrade the Aer Lingus operations,” said Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary in a statement.
“This offer—if successful—means both companies will continue to operate separately and compete vigorously in the small number of routes on which we both operate—currently around 17 of the approximately 500 routes operated by the two airlines,” he added.
Ryanair has already raised its stake in Aer Lingus, which was recently floated on the stock market. The bid is conditional on Ryanair acquiring the remaining stock through an all-cash offer at 2.80 euros per share.
“The combined strength of Ryanair and Aer Lingus would establish an Irish airline group with over 50 million passengers annually, capable of competing on the European and world stage against other large European airline groups,” Ryanair said in an official statement to the London Stock Exchange.