The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has resumed its investigation into Ryanair’s minority stake in Aer Lingus.
The investigation, which was first opened a year ago, seeks to determine whether Ryanair’s 30% stake in Aer Lingus obstructs competition and allows Ryanair to influence Aer Lingus’s commercial policy.
While the decision is expected to be reached by October 26th, Ryanair sees the investigation as ‘a waste of time’ and believes it is ‘out of time’.
In a statement, Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “We are surprised that the OFT continues to waste time and resources on a failed merger offer between two non-UK companies, some five years after the offer was withdrawn, and some four years after the EU Commission prohibited the original offer but confirmed that Ryanair had neither de jure nor de facto control over Aer Lingus.
“This OFT investigation sets a damaging precedent for future UK mergers, as it appears that the OFT now intends to second guess and become involved in mergers up to nine years after the transaction, only once all EU appeals have been completed.
“We believe that this investigation is out of time and we trust that the Court of Appeal will share our view and put an end to this unnecessary investigation.”