The chief executive of Aer Lingus has branded Ryanair‘s latest takeover bid as “pathetic”.
Dermot Mannion said that Ryanair’s €1.40 offer per share fell far short of Aer Lingus’s true value. The offer values the Irish national carrier at €748 million, half the amount Ryanair offered when it first made a bid two years ago.Mr Mannion met Noel Dempsey, the Irish Transport Minister, yesterday to urge the government not sell any shares to Ryanair. The Government holds 25 per cent of Aer Lingus, while Ryanair is the main shareholder with 30 per cent.
Firm opposition until now from the Government had held back Ryanair’s bid.
In June 2007 European competition regulators ruled that a takeover would create a near-monopoly in European flights out of Dublin. However the deteriorating economic climate has seen its stance relaxing.
The Irish government opposed the bid first time round but are also thought to be easing due to a sharp drop in tax revenues and soaring deficit spending.
Michael O’Leary has admitted that the €1.40 offer would mean that Ryanair acquired its rival for “almost nothing”. However, he argued that the spate of airline bankruptcies caused by the economic downturn had strengthened its position.