Press: O’Leary says Aer Lingus buy unlikely

Ryanair’s proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus Group Plc is ‘rather unlikely’ to succeed, chief executive Michael O’Leary said in an interview with Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Ryanair withdrew its 1.48 bln eur hostile takeover bid in December last year after the European Commission launched an in-depth inquiry citing ‘serious competition concerns’ over the proposed merger of Ireland’s two biggest airlines.

The Commission last month extended the deadline for its inquiry to June 13.

‘We’ll wait and see what conditions the Commission demands and then rethink this,’ O’Leary said.

‘But we don’t think that anything will happen before the elections in Ireland,’ he said.

O’Leary’s remarks appear to contrast with comments by Ryanair deputy chief executive Howard Millar last month in which he said there is ‘a very good possibility’ of a fresh bid for the Irish flag-carrier either immediately or in the next year if it gets the green light from the EU.